NET’s Peer Support Programs Best Nest

A Newsletter For NET Staff, Clients, and Friends
NET Welcomes
Best Nest
On March 3, NET began
an affiliation with Best
Nest Care, Inc. Founded
in 1987, Best Nest was
one of the first agencies in Philadelphia
to address the needs of children affected
by HIV in the child welfare system. Best
Nest provides foster care and adoption
services, matching children with significant physical, emotional and health care
needs to caring families in Philadelphia,
Bucks and Montgomery counties, and
in-home protective services.
“In this challenging environment for
nonprofit providers of community-based
social services, our two organizations can
enhance the reach and effectiveness of
the other,” said Terence McSherry, NET
President and CEO. The immediate effect
of the affiliation has been to preserve
employee jobs and maintain continuity
of services for the more than 200 children
and their families that Best Nest serves
each year.
Best Nest’s services are a complement
to NET’s highly respected Child Welfare
programs. “This affiliation gives us
additional resources to focus on
medically oriented case management,
a vital specialty service that we have
been preparing to offer,” explained
Regan Kelly, Division Director of NET’s
Youth & Family Services.
From 2009 to Jan. 31, 2012, Public
Health Management Corporation
(PHMC) served as the parent
corporation for Best Nest. Now, NET
will help the agency continue in its
mission to provide high-quality
services to children and families and
manage its further growth.
Spring 2012
“With a little help from my friends. . .”
NET’s Peer Support Programs
With its innovative peer support programs in
both adult and youth services, NET draws on
the experience and wisdom of “those who
have been there.” Peer Specialists, Recovery
Specialists, Parent Support Specialists, the Peer
Action Committee, and the Parent Support and
Advisory Committee serve as a bridge between
the persons served at NET and professional
service providers. Through these initiatives,
NET encourages persons in recovery and
parents or caretakers of youth served to take
an active role in achieving their goals and
gives them a strong network of support as
they move forward.
In 2000, PA Adult Behavioral Health became
the first addiction program to have certified
Peer Specialists. Their Consumer Council,
which gives persons in recovery a voice in
their own treatment and in the direction of
the agency, was founded in 2006. Building on
the success of peer support in adult treatment
models, NET adapted this concept to integrate
similar support into youth- and family-oriented
“Parent Support Specialists are parents who
previously needed to get behavioral health
services for their children,” said Regan Kelly,
Division Director of NET’s Youth and Family
Services Division. “When they speak to parents,
they are speaking from personal experience.
That’s what sets this program apart.”
“We assist parents by providing support,
understanding, information and hope,” said
Glenda Fine, Program Supervisor. “I’m
a parent who has had similar concerns, and
I have a background as a special education
advocate. I let parents know that I’m there to
assist them in any way possible.”
“It’s my job to connect with parents,” added
Melodie Jackson, a Parent Support Specialist.
“I am the parent of a former recipient of these
services, so I understand how it feels to be
navigating the system. I enjoy helping people
based on my experience, empowering them to
be their children’s best advocate.”
Jackson and Fine help parents navigate the
complex world of social services. They will accompany parents to meetings at their child’s
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By All Measures,
NET Excels at Putting People First
Time and again, both internal and external
evaluations show that NET is true to its mission
of putting people first.
as extraordinary and we were asked to present our playroom concept to other providers.”
“While our internal measures of performance and satisfaction
with our services are important metrics, we value the information
we get from our partners who do licensing and credentialing and
from the Consumer Satisfaction Team, said Terence McSherry,
NET President and CEO. “Our recent results, which feed into our
performance improvement process, have been especially gratifying
as reflections of quality.”
NET’s Adult Behavioral Healthcare Division is particularly proud
of the changes at NET-North and NET-West. “In May 2010, two
months after NET took over management, Community Behavioral
Health (CBH) visited NET-North and NET-West and reported
that the error rate had dropped from 80-90% to 1.6%,” explained
Bonnie Wright, Clinical Program Director of NET’s West and
Spring Garden Street sites. (Error rate, which identifies incorrect or
inconsistent documentation, averages around 40-50%, according
to Wright.)
Regan Kelly, Division Director of Youth and Family Services, is
pleased with how NET fared in recent Department of Human
Services reviews, but is even more pleased by the expertise and
dedication of her team. “This,” she said, “is hard to measure. Staff
members are very committed to quality services; they care about
having good outcomes for children and families and treat each client with respect.”
Kelly attributes consistent high scores in all DHS reviews (many
above 95%) to her “very experienced management teams – particularly in the Foster Care, In-Home Protective Services, Henry
House, and In-Home Detention programs – who are knowledgeable about the requirements. We have good systems in place to
monitor the details and to ensure compliance with the standards
for each level of care,” she said.
“We scrapped Riverside’s old-school medical model – If you looked
at 10 charts, you would see that 10 people had the same goals and
progress notes – and implemented the Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) model. CBH complimented us for focusing on clients’ strengths
to help them achieve their goals,”
Wright said.
As an opiate treatment provider, NET Steps has to navigate an
additional set of stringent regulations. “The Drug Enforcement
Agency (DEA) comes in unannounced to check our medication inventory and medical practices,” explained John Carroll, NET Steps
Director. “On the spot, they ask to check our inventory on two specific dates and months apart – all our medication dispensed, all our
shipments, all our error reports, etc. They want it to come within
2 percent, and we came in around 0.5 percent.” In addition, NET
Steps was accredited with commendation status from SAMSA, the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“No matter what licensing
body comes out, we excel because of the massive amount
of teamwork utilized by the
supervisors and their staff,”
said Gary Frankowski, Clinical
Program Director of NETNorth and NET-Frankford.
“Everyone collaborates to
make sure that everything
is done correctly. When
outside bodies come into
the former Riverside sites,
the charts look exactly like
the charts at Spring Garden
Street. We strive for uniformity.”
“We focus on quality, and I put a lot of importance on compliance.
We have a Performance Improvement Department with a full-time
director and a separate Medical Records Department,” Carroll said.
“Last year we were told, off the record, that we had the highest
score in the state among providers of opiate treatment. And after a
recent Performance Improvement review, our division was selected
Other achievements:
“Instead of a provisional
license, NET-North and
NET-West now have a
two-year and a three-year
credential. It’s the
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NET’s Newest Board Members
Whether they have served for 30-plus years, like
Chairman Lawrence Devlin, or joined the board in
recent months, NET’s directors bring a wide range
of experience and a deep commitment to the table.
They are passionate supporters and advocates of
NET’s work and mission. We welcome the following
individuals who have joined the board in the past year.
Phinorice Boldin
With over 25 years of experience as a litigator, Phinorice Bolden began to understand
the importance of organizations like NET
early in her career. “Living in Boston and
working as a public defender, I dealt with
a number of people with substance abuse issues. At that time,
our only resource to help people stay out of the criminal justice
system was the Salvation Army and its programs,” she reflected.
Boldin, who is a “product of the Philadelphia public schools”
and also attended Colgate University and Boston College
Law School, serves as counsel to the Philadelphia School
Reform Commission. When a friend introduced her to NET
President and CEO Terence McSherry at a luncheon, she was
immediately interested in getting involved with what she calls
“an organization that is doing such important work. This is a
way I can be involved with an organization that truly helps
those in need.”
William North
After many years of involvement with NET,
Bill North has joined the Board of Directors.
“Many years ago, I dealt with Lower
Kensington Environmental Center
(NET’s forerunner),” he said. He was a
part of NET’s banking team at Wilmington Trust for 13 years;
in 2010 he became Market Executive for First Niagara Bank.
In addition, North has worked with various nonprofits through
the years.
“NET’s work is very meaningful to me, especially on the Youth
Services side,” he said. “Foster care and other services – like
education and counseling – benefit youth who face challenges.
These programs are saving and shaping the people who will
take care of our world in the future.”
Magdalena Ramos
Magdalena Ramos has personal and professional connections to
NET. She is Staff Supervisor for the Consumer Satisfaction Team,
Inc., where Terence McSherry is a board member. “When Terry
sought me out to be on the board of NET, I had been aware of
the organization for a long time. I had attended NA/AA meetings
that met at NET. As a person who has ‘been there,’ I see how NET
helps people firsthand, and I have always held the organization in
high regard.”
Ramos has been consistently impressed with the success of NET’s
consumers. “They are content with the services they receive, due
largely to the staff – which delivers. When I was in the field, there
was so much satisfaction among the people being helped at NET.
At NET, you feel like the staff wants to give you your due; they
don’t rush you through the system.”
Lucia Williams
Lucia Williams is a 34-year veteran of Philadelphia’s Behavioral
Health system. For the past three years she has served as the
Director of Planning & Development for Shalom Incorporated, a
nonsectarian, nonprofit drug and alcohol prevention, intervention,
and treatment agency. “I have known about NET since its
beginnings,” she said.
Williams appreciates the tremendous respect NET employees have
for the people they serve. In her experience, it is not an accident
that someone finds success in recovery. “It takes support in many
forms. The wonderful leadership at NET combines their resources
to truly provide what people need. The staff does a great job of
showing clients that they have the power to plan and carry out
change. And in the city, NET stands out as a leader in both clinical
practice and concern for the people with whom they work.”
In addition to the new members noted above, NET’s Board
of Directors includes:
Lawrence J. Devlin, Chairman; Richard J. Cohen, Ph.D.,
William G. Smith, Treasurer; Herman Mattleman, Esq.,
Vice Chairman; Bart Blatstein; Robert V. Caruso, Ph.D.,
James Junikiewicz, Hon. Eugene Edward J. Maier,
Terence M. McSherry, David S. Owens, Jr., Jack A. Thalheimer,
and Arthur Brandolph, Counsel.
News &Notes
Kirkwood Detoxification Center
was the first program in the NET
organization to go electronic.
“We designed and developed a
comprehensive custom system that includes electronic health
records. We’re working on the final two phases of development –
billing and state reporting,” said James Larks, Director. “The
end result will be increased efficiency and no paper whatsoever.”
To accommodate the system, Kirkwood upgraded all of its
hardware; staff members were trained to use the new system
and now have remote access from web browsers; they will
eventually also have excess via smart phones and tablets.
The first new licensure standard requirements in 20 years from
the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH)
have required Kirkwood to restructure its staff, policies and procedures. “This has meant some changes in our staff, with new job
descriptions and upgraded qualifications and competencies for
each position,” Larks explained. “It’s an exciting transformation
which will equate to quality service provision to persons served.”
NET, in partnership with SPIN, has been
selected to implement an Autism Center
for Excellence. “We’ll be developing a whole
range of services for children who are diagnosed with autism. This includes supporting
children in their homes and classrooms by developing specialty
teams in our existing in-home services and offering social skills
groups, after-school programs, and therapeutic camps” said
Regan Kelly, Division Director of NET’s Youth & Family Services.
The Department of Human Services has launched an initiative
entitled “Improving Outcomes for Children.” With this, DHS is
moving toward a single case management system to be provided
by agencies that are embedded in the communities they serve.
In 2012, DHS will be selecting two lead or Community Umbrella
Agencies (CUA) to implement the first stage of this initiative. By
2016, all regions of the city will have a CUA. NET will be applying
to become a Community Umbrella Agency.
The Firehouse, NET’s residential program for males ages 10 to 21
awaiting disposition by the Philadelphia family court system, has
closed. “The need for the program had diminished and the census
was chronically down,” said Jonathan Solomons, NET CFO. “In
many ways this is a sign that the system has moved in a positive
direction and developed better options for these youth,” Kelly
added. “More youth are being served in their homes and in
community settings as opposed to residential settings.”
NET Steps is unveiling Chance to
Change (C2C), a specialized track for
people who would be dismissed from
traditional programs because of bad
behavior. “Our goal is to help them
modify their behavior without terminating them,” explained John
Carroll, Director of NET Steps.
NET Steps’ Peer Action Committee is sponsoring a series of
ongoing workshops to educate family members (parents, spouses,
adult children) about the brain disease concept of addiction and
medication assisted recovery. Each workshop meets for four
consecutive Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
PA Adult Behavioral Health Services has
started a trauma program at its Frankford,
Spring Garden, NET-North and NET-West
sites. The program is under the supervision
of Dr. Allan Lehrman, Clinical Supervisor.
“Trauma is one of the most underreported and least discussed
issues in D&A treatment,” said Gary Frankowski, Clinical
Program Director of NET-North and NET-Frankford.
“We launched the program in July 2011 after months of
researching best practices. It’s a collaborative process with the
clients, who either make a self-referral or are identified by their
counselors.” Trauma specific groups meet every Friday at each
location. “Whether they experienced neglect, violence or sexual
abuse, clients get added support in these groups; they discover
that they are not the only one who is suffering.”
NET continues to host study tours from care providers who
are interested in learning how to implement the ROSC model and
set up a clubhouse so that their consumers can access
available resources. They meet with NET Peer Specialists as well
as supervisors. Recent groups have come from as far as Wales
and China. Joseph Schultz, Director of PA Adult Behavioral
Healthcare, is working closely with providers; along with John
Rocco he traveled to Texas to share his expertise. On Dec. 7,
2011, the NET team traveled to Maryland to provide an all-day
training to more than 100 people. Presenters included Sonya
Mendelovich, Gary Frankowski, Sabrina Messina, Angelo Colon,
John Rocco and Wanda Hudson.
On March 2, NET teamed up with
Community Behavioral Health to lead
a training program for the Forensic
Intensive Recovery (FIR) Program, a
prison deferral and early release initiative.
“More than 40 people attended, including
all of the programs’ evaluators and case managers,” said Sonya
Mendelovich, NET’s Director of Integrated Recovery Services.
Mendelovich participated in the training, as did Wanda Hudson,
Jake Fleming, and James Somerville and Angelo Colon, NET
Peer Specialists.
On March 24, NET participated at a Men’s Health Fair at Enon
Tabernacle Baptist Church in Mt. Airy, which was co-sponsored
by Einstein Healthcare Network, where they screened 87 men for
HIV. Peer Specialists Sheila Sanders and James Smith distributed
literature; Derrick Scott screened 87 men for HIV.
Community outreach:
“With Peer Specialists and volunteers,
we’ve established a strong relationship with
Ready, Willing & Able, a vocational training
program. We are conducting meetings and
supporting recovery activities within their programs, as we transition consumers to treatment at NET,” Mendelovich said. Peer
Specialists speak at their facility weekly and coordinate admission of people to NET treatment sites. “We’ve also made arrangements to do this with local hospitals, including Friends, Temple,
Episcopal, and Eagleville; local shelters; and treatment programs
as far away as Chester and Reading,” she added. NET is also
partnering with local hospitals and halfway houses to facilitate
what the city calls a “warm handoff ” of people stepping down to
a lower level of care.
Now That’s Commitment!
Norma Martinez, Accounts Payable Coordinator, was recently
honored for 25 years of service to NET. She began her tenure
with NET at the Firehouse; within a year, she moved to Spring
Garden Street and worked for the late Pat Henry until 2003.
“She’s worked for me for about nine years,” said Dennis Hess,
Controller. “Her biggest attribute is her dedication. Even on her
day off, she would come in to work if someone in the department called out sick.” Her attention to detail is equally impressive. “She produces 175 checks
a week, totaling $370,000 in accounts payable – which adds up
to 9000 checks and $19 million a
year. With just one assistant, she
produces those checks accurately
and seamlessly,” Hess added.
Terence McSherry, NET President and CEO, presents a plaque to Norma
Martinez in honor of 25 years of service to NET.
NET Volunteers Keep
Frankford Avenue Litter Free
NET and the Frankford Community Development Corporation
have entered into a new partnership aimed at keeping the Frankford Avenue commercial corridor litter free, in light of the recent
disbanding of the Frankford Special Services District.
Three days a week, four NET clients, with assistance and supplies
from the Frankford CDC, will walk from Womrath Park to the
Frankford Transportation Center, picking up litter and sweeping
the sidewalk. The program is designed to be a sustainable means
for regular cleanings of the Avenue, as well as an employment
training mechanism for NET clients. The NET volunteers who
man this program will be taught both
“soft” and “hard” job skills, assisting
them to secure good-paying, fulfilling positions in the fields of their
A Newsletter For NET Staff, Clients, and Friends
NET’s Peer Support Programs
school, at NET, or at other
agencies, helping families
and caregivers find their voice
in their interactions with
these systems. They run a
Parent Support group and
offer workshops.
The committee also advises
NET on various systems issues. For example, after hearing from
many parents that decisions about psychotropic medication were
very difficult to make, the committee planned and implemented
parent training on this topic. “We’re always looking for innovative
ways to make sure that parents have the information and support
they need to make the best decisions for their child,” Kelly explained.
At NET Steps, Director John Carroll encourages patients to
participate in various ways. Consumers collaborate with staff to
produce their own newsletter, which features articles, poems, and
supportive advice from staff and from members of the Peer Action
Committee (PAC). PAC members also helped collect over 1,000
gifts in this year’s toy drive, and spent much of the winter handing
out coats to the homeless.
(continued from front page)
have nine people in the role of Recovery Specialist,” Carroll
explained. “As both a patient and a staff member, they have a dual
role and must separate their employment responsibilities from
their personal treatment/recovery responsibilities.
“John and other people at the NET really went to bat for me,
because hiring me was a challenge with some of my personal
history,” said De Leon, who affectionately calls NET Steps his
‘home away from home.’”
As members of the Peer Action Committee, “it’s our job to educate
family members and spouses about treatment and addiction, so
they better understand why their loved ones go through what they
go through,” De Leon said. “We also have our Recovery Walk and
a Women’s 12-Step group. We are starting a P90X workout group
run by clients for clients, and we also teach computer skills and
help each other get resumes together.”
As NET Steps’ success
has shown, peer recovery
strengthens resolve and
commitment and helps
build a community
of support.
Two years ago, Carroll enlisted Jose De Leon as a Recovery
Specialist. “Because opiate treatment may be lifelong, and because
people who are doing well stay in treatment, that’s who we hire. We
NET Excels at Putting People First
first time in the NET’s history that this has been achieved,” Wright
said. “In addition, Spring Garden IOP went from 17 percent to 0.8
percent in compliance.”
(continued from front page)
and the innovative strategies we employ to stay on the cutting
edge. We also recruit and hire dedicated staff members who are
passionate about what they do and committed to supporting our
mission. That’s a key component,” Larks said.
In a review by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation
Facilities (CARF), NET was recognized for “exemplary conformance
to standards” for its automated Performance Reporting System
(PRS) that was designed by James Larks, Division Director of Delaware Adult Behavioral Health Services. “The system has key performance indicators, and we collect data on a quarterly basis,” Larks
explained. CARF also acknowledged the custom Electronic Health
Record system at Kirkwood Detoxification Center and applauded
NET for its efforts.
To what does Larks attribute Kirkwood’s routinely good reviews?
“We shine because of our state-of-the-art evidence-based practices
NorthEast Treatment Centers
215.451.7000 •