Minnesota CarePartner began serving the community in 2014. Katy Armendariz saw a need for a child welfare agency that addressed the mental health and chemical health needs of children and families. Growing up in the child welfare system, Katy saw how the system disproportionately affects children and families of color. Her passion to serve disadvantaged families coupled with a societal need for more cultural representation in therapy sparked the beginning of Minnesota CarePartner.
Starting with just two part-time therapists, Minnesota CarePartner began bringing psychotherapy into clients' homes. Katy saw a need for in-home therapy for those who cannot come to a clinic due to physical, mental, financial, or transportation barriers. Bringing therapy to clients in the comfort of their own home breaks down these barriers. And it provides clients with a better chance at leading a healthy and whole life.
By August of 2015, there were six therapists and certification from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide Children’s Therapeutic Services and Supports (CTSS). This in-home rehabilitative service teaches and empowers children and families necessary skills to be healthy and whole. In March 2016, Minnesota CarePartner became ARMHS certified, meaning we can now serve adults needing life skills training and therapy.
That year, the Governor’s Task Force on the Protection of Children published their conclusions. The task force provided 93 recommendations and posed a key question: “Are families better off because our child protection system stepped into the family’s life?”
They concluded the following:
- The system cannot evolve without additional resources, training, and workforce adjustments.
- Workers must make referrals to community providers to address the mental health needs of children immediately.
- Workers must support the needs of children and their families by making a full array of intervention services available (#86).
- Workers must implement services that will prevent recidivism into the child protection system and provide funding for home visiting services (#88, #89).
Katy realized that Minnesota CarePartner could meet several of the task force recommendations.
In August of 2016, Katy gave presentations to staff meetings at 16 social service agencies across eight counties. And by the end of August, she gave presentations to 16 staff meetings across 8 counties. The response to the partnership has been overwhelmingly positive. We've received great feedback from our partnerships and we continue to prevent recidivism.
The child protection workers we partner with have reported feeling at ease because we're in the home offering skills training and therapy. We work tirelessly for the empowerment and self-determination of families. In addition, a key part of our process is to hire a diverse staff in order to preserve our clients' cultural identities.
Minnesota CarePartner has grown to 60 employees, and we've greatly expanded our service offerings to include supervised visitation in the home, Rule 25 Assessments, Parenting Assessments, CTSS, ARMHS, parenting groups, school-based mental health services, and in-home psychotherapy.
We are always looking for new partnerships with social service agencies. Please contact us today for partnership information.