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KVC Health Systems

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A Helpful Guide to KVC’s Mental Health and Child Welfare Services in Kansas and Missouri

Guide to KVC's services

For more than 50 years, KVC Health Systems has provided heart-centered service to children and families. These services strengthen families, prevent child abuse and neglect, and help both children and adults achieve mental health wellness.

As KVC has grown from a volunteer effort to help children in Kansas City, Kansas, to a national leader with 35 locations in the U.S. and best practice training and consultation that stretches around the world, KVC’s presence in its home region of Kansas and Missouri has expanded.

If you are wondering what mental health and child welfare services KVC provides and in which areas, this guide is for you! Get ready to learn how you or others can take advantage of KVC’s child and family services. Or, if you’re not looking for services, learn how you can join KVC as an advocate, volunteer, financial supporter, event sponsor, foster or adoptive parent, or even team member. Your support helps us achieve our vision: to create a world in which every person is safe and connected to a strong family and a healthy community.

KVC Health Systems

KVC Health Systems is a family of nonprofit organizations that share the same values in how they serve children, families and communities. KVC Health Systems is also the parent organization’s name. It is based in Olathe, Kansas which is in the greater Kansas City area.

Jason Hooper is the President and CEO of KVC Health Systems. The Executive Team also includes Erin Stucky, Chief Operations Officer; Chad Anderson, Chief Clinical Officer; Lonnie Johnson, Chief Information Officer; and Sherri Lohe, Chief Financial Officer. Most of these leaders have been with KVC for more than 20 years, reflecting how the organization’s values-driven culture and charitable mission create a meaningful, rewarding place to work.

KVC Health Systems - Lonnie Johnson, Erin Stucky, Jason Hooper, Sherri Lohe, Chad Anderson

KVC Health Systems Executive Team

As the parent organization, KVC Health Systems does not provide direct services to children and families; rather it provides administrative support to its local subsidiaries or business units. By centralizing critical functions like Accounting and Human Resources, KVC’s local teams can focus on their core competencies such as social work, therapy and inpatient children’s psychiatric treatment. The shared services model also ensures consistency and reduces costs by enabling smaller business units to access high-quality experts and resources that might otherwise be out of their reach.

KVC’s shared services teams are Accounting, Ball Conference Center, Business Information Technology, Employee Engagement, Fund Development, Human Resources, the KVC Institute, Legal, and Marketing & Communications.

These administrative teams must be agile and innovative, as they provide the infrastructure that supports one of the nation’s broadest continuums of care.

See below or click here to see a helpful graphic that shows what our continuum of care is. KVC’s expertise spans from preventative, educational services that are the least intensive way to help children and families, to community-based services like foster care that fall in the middle of the continuum, to high-end, acute inpatient children’s psychiatric treatment which is the most intensive way of helping a person in crisis. It is incredibly rare for a single organization to have a continuum of care this broad, and it makes KVC an ideal partner for health and human service agencies that need deep expertise in serving families with complex needs.

KVC's Continuum of Care - A wide range of child welfare and mental health servicesIt’s important to note that KVC does not have the same mix of services in each state. Each KVC subsidiary or local team has different programs and services based on its history in the community and local needs.

KVC Health Systems’ local subsidiaries are:

Keep reading to learn more about the first three which serve children and families in Kansas and Missouri.

KVC Hospitals – Children’s Psychiatric Treatment

KVC Hospitals is a nonprofit organization serving thousands of youth between ages 6 to 18 who are struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, the impacts of trauma, and other behavioral and mental health challenges. Our team implements innovative, neuroscience-based treatment approaches at our inpatient acute psychiatric hospitals and residential psychiatric treatment centers serving Kansas and Missouri. KVC Hospitals is accredited by The Joint Commission and considered the gold standard in healthcare.

Learn more about admissions here or call (913) 890-7468. Our experienced and compassionate admissions team is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week to support you through the process of seeking inpatient or residential treatment. They can answer any questions you have regarding the admissions process, paperwork to complete, requesting medical records, and insurance coverage/costs.

The two primary types of treatment available are:

  • Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization – When a youth is actively in a mental health emergency, inpatient acute treatment at one of our hospitals provides them with immediate intensive clinical services to keep them and others safe. Some examples of a mental health emergency include a plan to attempt suicide, harm themself or harm others. The goal of treatment is to stabilize the crisis the child is experiencing so they can discharge to a lower level of care as soon as safely possible and can continue treatment in their community. KVC Hospitals currently provides this level of treatment in Kansas City and Wichita and it is a shorter-term treatment with stays typically between four to seven days. While community mental health centers, primary physicians, other hospitals, school counselors, or another person involved in a child’s care can make a referral to KVC Hospitals, families can also contact KVC Hospitals directly to inquire about treatment options and admissions.
  • Psychiatric Residential Treatment – This provides youth with intensive clinical services in a home-like environment with 24-hour supervision and support from our trained clinicians and staff. A youth receiving this level of care is not actively experiencing an emergency but has ongoing struggles with their mental or behavioral health. Typically they have engaged in outpatient services but haven’t experienced improvement. The goal is to teach youth emotion regulation and coping skills and give them opportunities to practice their new skills while enjoying fun and educational community outings. KVC Hospitals provides this level of treatment, also called PRTF, in Kansas City and Hays and it is a longer-term treatment with stays typically between one to three months. A referral for treatment is typically made by the insurance company and/or community mental health center, with guardian approval.

Both levels of treatment include a full medical, clinical and nursing assessment of each client; intensive psychiatric care and medication management; individual, family and group therapy sessions; case coordination; 24/7 support and supervision from our skilled nursing staff; and innovative treatment and education to teach youth about their brains and how to regulate their emotions.

KVC Kansas

The next subsidiary is KVC Kansas which provides child welfare and mental health services. Many people associate KVC Kansas with foster care. That’s a fair association, as KVC Kansas has been a foster care case management provider for the State of Kansas for 25 years and continually and actively supports over 900 relative caregivers and foster families.

But when you have a passion for helping children and families as our team does, you quickly discover that the best approach to foster care is to safely prevent the need for foster care by strengthening families. This upstream work of preventing a crisis is talked about less often than foster care, but prevention efforts are proven to be up to 98% effective in keeping families together, plus they are exponentially more cost-efficient. High-quality prevention services cost on average $5,000-10,000 per family compared to $78,000 per family for one year of foster care (assuming three children average) – that means foster care is 8-16x more expensive than its alternatives. Additionally, of course, safely preventing the need for foster care means less trauma and separation for families.

The services KVC Kansas offers are:

  • Family Strengthening and Prevention Programs – This includes Project Rise, the Strengthening Families Program, Kansas PMTO, and Teen Connect. These programs offer free courses on financial literacy, healthy relationship building, and parenting skill-building, as well as a sense of community with other families. We also have a long history of offering Family Preservation services that safely prevent the need for foster care. Learn more here.
  • Foster Care Case Management – KVC Kansas is responsible for all children in foster care in 11 counties in eastern Kansas, plus family reunification services, kinship care coordination, and adoption services. This state grant-funded work is sometimes referred to as Permanency since it is focused on helping each child reach a permanent family and home. Of the approximately 1,700 children in foster care that KVC is responsible for, we are proud to ensure that over 50% are cared for by relatives or non-related kin, which leads to better outcomes. Learn more about the structure of these state grants, our family reunification success stories, and kinship care, and aftercare following a safe family reunification or adoption. We also provide independent living services for older youth.
  • Foster & Adoptive Family Support – As a licensed child placing agency, KVC Kansas recruits, trains and supports adults to be caregivers for children in foster care. Learn more about the rewarding process of becoming a Kansas foster or adoptive parent here. You can also see profiles of children who need adoptive families here.
  • Youth Treatment Facility – In Kansas City, KVC Kansas also has a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) to serve girls ages 12+ in foster care. While this is sometimes informally referred to as KVC’s shelter, it is a large, welcoming home that provides a safe place for girls to live and compassionate behavioral health services to meet their needs.
  • Outpatient Behavioral Health – Finally, KVC Kansas has an outpatient behavioral health team that specializes in providing trauma-informed mental health services. Services include therapy and medication management. Learn more here.

KVC Missouri

The third subsidiary is KVC Missouri, which is simultaneously the oldest and the newest part of the KVC family. We shared all the details in this March 2021 article when KVC Missouri launched.

KVC Missouri LaunchKVC Missouri is the oldest part of the organization because KVC Niles, its flagship children’s treatment center located in Kansas City, Missouri, has been around since 1883. That means KVC Niles has been serving vulnerable youth for over 138 years. Samuel Eason, an African American bricklayer, launched what is today KVC Niles by caring for homeless children in his neighborhood near the historic 18th and Vine area. In 2017, Niles merged with KVC Health Systems.

But KVC Missouri is also the newest part of our organization. The KVC Missouri name was introduced in early 2021 to add community-based services to better meet the needs of children and families. For example, the youth in residential treatment at KVC Niles are typically youth in foster care with behavioral or mental health needs. These children and teens, whom our team members care deeply about, typically need to temporarily live with a highly trained foster family when they complete residential treatment. These “treatment foster care” families are trained to provide a therapeutic environment for youth. So to best care for children and families, it became clear that KVC needed to develop a broad continuum of care in Missouri, similar to its continuum of care in Kansas.

The primary services KVC Missouri offers are:

  • Niles Prep K-12 School – This trauma-informed school is approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. Niles Prep provides education and therapy to youth through personalized treatment goals; individual, group and family therapy; and small classroom sizes. Niles Prep School offers youth a place to heal, change, and grow, and a place where learning is fun. Learn more about Niles Prep here.
  • Residential Psychiatric TreatmentYouth in this program receive intensive clinical services in a home-like environment with 24-hour supervision and support from our trained clinicians and staff. Youth learn emotion regulation and coping skills and practice their new skills while enjoying fun and educational community outings. Some youth attend Niles Prep, our K-12 school, while others may attend school in the community. Learn more about Niles’ residential treatment here.
  • Foster Family Support – KVC Missouri is actively recruiting adults to become treatment foster care providers for children in need. Statewide, there is an urgent shortage of families who are licensed to provide this level of care, but thankfully KVC Missouri provides all the training and support to equip adults to care for youth in this important way. Currently, KVC Missouri is looking for adults in the Kansas City metro (Platte, Clay, Jackson and Cass counties) to become treatment foster care providers. It is also training and sponsoring general foster care families in southwest Missouri. Learn more about becoming a Missouri foster parent here.
  • Foster Parent Training – In addition to licensing and supporting foster families, KVC Missouri also offers a wide range of classes to foster parents regardless of which foster care agency they’re with. The courses including Missouri STRONG pre-service foster parent training, suicide prevention, reasonable & prudent parenting, strategies for de-escalation, trauma care, Elevated A & B trainings, psychotropic medication & informed consent, partnering with birth parents, grief and loss in foster care, and much more. See the KVC Missouri event calendar here.

In Summary

We hope this guide has helped you understand KVC’s mental health and child welfare services in Kansas and Missouri. Here’s a quick recap and where to go for more information:

If you’d like to support KVC’s mission of helping children and families, go here to learn about the best ways to get involved.

Join the KVC Health Systems team at www.kvc.org/careers