History

HSAO Human Service Administration OrganizationIn 1999 HSAO was created as a provider agency absorbing the LIFE Project and RTF Group. The LIFE Project (Living in Family Environments) was one of several statewide grants given to counties in 1994 to develop alternatives for youth ages 6-12 coming out of State Hospital Systems as a result of the closing of those hospitals. It was created utilizing the Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) principles for its foundations on how to work with youth and families. HSAO's original purpose was to create alternative community based treatment for 30 youth who would normally have been placed in a state hospital had the option been available. The LIFE Project has grown to serve children and adolescents up to age 21, serving almost 300 youth and their families every year.

The RTF (Residential Treatment Facility) Group was also created in 1994 under the direction of the Allegheny County Office of Behavioral Health to be the single point of contact for the Behavioral Health, Children Youth and Family (CYF) and Juvenile Justice Systems. Today, HSAO functions as a gatekeeper for all referrals for RTF treatment in Allegheny County. Under the direction of HSAO, RTF has expanded and now serves more than 500 youth per year. The RTF Group is seen as a best practice model in the State of Pennsylvania for its inclusion of parents as the driving force in the treatment planning process and its continuous on-site monitoring of the quality of treatment from the initial referral, through discharge and back to a community setting.

Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Case ManagementIn 2000, The Allegheny County Adult Forensic Program, (which is now known as the Adult Justice Related Services) Program became part of HSAO. This award winning program provides service coordination services to those adults involved in the criminal justice system who are diagnosed with a mental illness. HSAO's goal is to divert or reduce the amount of time that a non violent mentally ill consumer spends in jail. The Adult Justice Related Services Program established one of the first Mental Health Courts in the United States and was recently awarded the prestigious Ash Institute Award for creative programming for its efforts to return, to community settings, individuals with mental heath illnesses that are being released from state penitentiaries and returned to Allegheny County.

Through all of its service offerings, HSAO has consistently maintained the belief that consumer-specific services build on consumer, family and community strengths. The goal of HSAO has always been to ensure that mental health services are delivered in the least restrictive environment, either by maintaining the consumer in the community or returning the consumer back into the community. HSAO's service coordination is provided with a creative and flexible approach to ensure the highest quality services.

 

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