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Adult & Child Health Uses Grant Funds to Strengthen Child Welfare Workforce

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Indianapolis, IN – Integrated healthcare and social services provider Adult & Child Health (A&C) was recently awarded $110,000 through the Department of Childrens Services (DCS) Workforce Stabilization Grant, a $30 million state-wide program offered to organizations that work with DCS to provide services to children and families. As a Licensed Child Placing Agency (LCPA), A&C provides foster home licensing, foster parent training, home based therapy, wrap around services, and family preservation services, as referred by DCS or Juvenile Probation. To address high turnover rates within the child welfare services industry, A&C plans to use awarded funds to invest in enhanced staff recruitment, training, and retention initiatives for its child welfare workforce.

The need for engaged and career-oriented employees in the Indiana child welfare service environment is tremendous. The most recent Indiana KIDS COUNT Data Book, completed by Indiana Youth Institute (IYI), cites DCS as reporting 20,000 children are living in Indiana foster homes in 2022 and an additional 13,000 need, or potentially need, foster care services. Responding to this demand is no easy feat for social service provider organizations. Heavy caseloads paired with the stress of working with some of the most vulnerable members of the community often leads to burnout, and in some cases, more serious issues. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, studies show that up to 50% of child welfare workers are at high risk of secondary traumatic stress or related conditions of PTSD and vicarious trauma.

With the help of DCS grant funding, A&C aims to promote sustainable, long-term child welfare careers, and support its employees’ continued commitment to the agency’s mission. In addition to a retention bonus program, A&C has launched an 18-month plan to provide child welfare team members with additional training, staff development, supportive teambuilding activities, career advancement and leadership development opportunities.

Attracting and retaining qualified, skilled, and compassionate employees to deliver A&C’s child welfare services with excellence is a top priority for A&C Director of Child Welfare Services Megan Trible. “The Workforce Stabilization Grant will be used not only to support staff retention, but also to elevate and develop an elite team of Child Welfare Specialists who have a unique understanding of the barriers and hardships families face within our community.”

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Sarah Miller, PMHNP-BC

Sarah Miller works with the addictions team, general psychiatry for adolescents and adults, and the competency restoration team. She is board-certified as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Her specialties are working in addictions and with people who experience serious mental illness.

Miller graduated from Indiana University with a psychology degree and went back to school for nursing. She received her nursing degree from Indiana Wesleyan University and worked in a nursing home and also spent time working in a group home with adolescents. She received her master’s degree from Vanderbilt University.

She enjoys hanging out with her family and her two dogs, and going to sporting events.

Joanna Chambers, MD

Dr. Joanna Chambers is a psychiatrist who began seeing Adult & Child Health patients in November 2021. She graduated from Medical College of Georgia with her Doctorate of Medicine in 1996 and completed her residency in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to bringing a wealth of experience, she currently serves as an associate professor at Indiana University School of Medicine where she teaches Clinical Psychiatry. She is certified in Addiction Medicine and has a special interest in treating pregnant and postpartum women. She is President of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry Organization as well as a sitting member of many medical association boards. Recently, she has won the Residents’ Award for Teaching Excellence in 2020 from Indiana University and has received “Best Doctors Award” in 2010, 2011, and 2014. Dr. Chambers is incredibly active in the medical, academic, and research realms of medicine. She is currently accepting new patients on Wednesdays.