The Right Talent, Right Now
The Harris Center and the H.E.A.R.T. Program Provided Summer Internships for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
For many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), finding jobs out in the “real world” does not always come easy. As part of The Harris Center’s commitment to transform the lives of people with IDD, the agency recently collaborated with the Texas Workforce Commission and the H.E.A.R.T. Program to provide summer internships to individuals with IDD to allow them the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience across our agency’s various programs.
“When [Adrianne] came in, she was eager to learn and she would take instructions very clearly. You could just tell her one time and she would go on her own and complete her tasks,” said Shaskyia Behn, administrative assistant in the contracts department at The Harris Center.
Fitness for All
The obesity rate of those with a diagnosis of IDD is 41.6% compared to 29.2% of the general population. Inequities in the provision of healthcare to individuals with IDD results in poor health, limited community participation and reduced quality of life. 28% of adults with disabilities reported feelings of sadness, unhappiness and depression preventing them from being active.
Barriers to fitness include few facilities, programs, or instructors offer modified exercise for individuals with disabilities, lack of time, limited income and lack of awareness.
The Harris Center and Bloom Fitness have partnered to provide group fitness classes for individuals 16 years of age and older who have a diagnosis of intellectual disability and/or Autism. Participants have fun with their peers, learn about health and build self-esteem as they join a growing fitness community.
FIRST: Family Intervention Restorative Services of Texas
The FIRST program is a diversion program for juveniles with pending criminal charges resulting from a domestic misdemeanor offense.
It is designed to negate the filing of criminal charges on the juvenile and allow the juvenile and their family to receive mental health services in lieu of detention and a judicial proceeding.
The expectation is to empower the family unit by teaching coping and communication skills necessary to avoid future situations requiring law enforcement involvement.
Program Graduates from the six-month program follow through on treatment goals established with the family and the clinician and meet all requirements established by the Juvenile Probation Case Manager.
The FIRST program is a collaboration between:
- The Harris County District Attorney’s Office
- The Harris County Juvenile Probation Department
- The Harris Center
- Texas Department of Family Protective Services
We had our first program graduation of 15 youth. On the second graduation, 39 youth graduated. The number of graduates is expected to continue to grow.
Judge Ed Emmett Mental Health Diversion Center
This voluntary program serves as a one-stop shop for law enforcement to divert (from jail) persons with mental illness who have been picked up for low-level, non-violent offenses, like trespassing
The service array includes:
- Triage, assessment, 24-48 hour observation,and short-term crisis respite beds.
- Peer engagement and psychosocial-rehabilitation.
- Integrated care and individual treatment plans to assist with stabilization.
- Comprehensive discharge planning and post-release case management
- Post-discharge access to wraparound services, such as substance abuse treatment and housing, developed through partnerships.
Aftercare, Post-Release Services
- Intensive Community Based Case Management
- Medication management
- Psychosocial programming
- Respite beds
- Crisis Housing Supports
- Detox/Residential Substance Use Disorder Services
- Peer support
- Permanent Supportive Housing
Access increased by offering New START* services at three sites. Program participants are located all across Harris County, the largest county in the state of Texas. Before the decentralization, only one location was available for access to the continuity of care and intensive case management.
Multiple limitations, such as personal transportation - dependency on others or the public transportation system - presented barriers for care. Multiple location options increase the program compliance and success rates.
The New START clinic at 6032 Airline Drive was decentralized into three of the current agency Mental Health Outpatient clinic sites:
*New START: Specialized Team of Advocates and Rehabilitation Therapists - Funded by the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI)