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Community Support Services are Being Changed

If you receive community support services for yourself or your child there are going to be some changes that have been ordered by the Government.

Under the new rules half of the services you or your child will receive must be provided by a “qualified professional.” A qualified professional must be a college graduate with several years of supervised experience working with persons “consumers” who are coping with mental health, substance abuse and/or developmental disability related challenges. The other half of the services may be provided by a paraprofessional. Paraprofessionals have less formal education and receive ongoing supervision.

Effective August first, the Government has also reduced how many hours of community support will be paid for each week. Under the new rules the providers of community support services will not be authorized for more than eight hours of community support per week. This is a maximum limit on the number of community support hours authorized for payment.

There may be a few exceptions involving children who have very demanding mental health challenges. Your community support services provider may be able to file an appeal for more than the maximum of eight hours of community support. However, each appeal will be carefully scrutinized. The better course of action may involve the community support worker pursuing other services for a highneeds child such as intensive inhome therapy, a mentor, or respite.

A Wonderful New Free Handbook Just for You

The North Carolina Department of health and Human Services has just published a “Consumer Handbook” that helps consumers understand the mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse service system in North Carolina. The Handbook provides two listings of numbers you can call for assistance: One for local calls, and a second listing for resources at the State level. The handbook tells you how to obtain the services you need, the meaning of “Person Centered Planning,” your rights as a client, crisis planning, and even your rights if you enter a hospital. The Handbook explains your privacy and confidentiality rights, and several fancy terms like “informed consent,” and “advance instructions.” Best of all: It is easy to read! Click here to view the Consumer Handbook

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