Mike Bell is the team leader of Pine Tree Society’s Children’s Case Management program. We recently caught up with him to talk about how he helps parents connect with the services and resources they need for their child. Connect with Mike today to learn more or get started with a case manager. Call him at (207) 386-5965, firstname.lastname@example.org or complete this form and we will get back to you.
Q: Tell me about Pine Tree Society’s Case Management for Children? Who is eligible for this service?
A: Pine Tree Society’s case management serves children zero to 20 years old, serving kids with developmental disabilities or chronic medical conditions. For eligibility, we require Maine Care services or Katie Beckett and you need to be within one hour of our offices. We currently have offices in Scarborough, Auburn, Bath and soon to be the Central Maine area this fall.
Q: What sort of professional background do the staff of Pine Tree Society’s Case Management for Children have? What services can they provide?
A: Our staff are quite diverse. We have staff who have special education backgrounds, social work, have been in the caregiver field, and some themselves have been parents of kids with special needs. We can do a variety of things depending on the age and need of your child and family. It could be connecting resources for home/community supports. It could be supporting transition planning into adulthood if they’re older adolescents. It could be being that added person at an IEP meeting just to listen. One of the most common pieces is that we are that person who listens when things get tough.
Q: How can Pine Tree Society’s Children’s Case Management assist children with distance learning or homeschooling?
A: We have experience working with kids in those scenarios and are familiar with how to access school programs, how to follow through with IEPs and 504 Plans. A lot of what we do is we would make sure you have access to community opportunities, connect with homeschool associations and coordinate and support those providers as well so that you have successful programming.
Q: How can Pine Tree Society’s Children’s Case Management assist with online therapies?
A: We can help support online therapies and access to those therapies by coordinating with either the school or outside providers. We’ve done this throughout COVID-19 as well as prior to the pandemic. Some challenges experienced by children and families have been access to technology to be able to do that. That’s something our case managers can help with as far as getting access either through the school or through technology elsewhere.
Q: How can Pine Tree Society’s Children’s Case Management help assure that children are still receiving necessary services if distance learning or homeschooling is occurring?
A: Connecting to services when you’re homeschooling or doing distance learning can be done in a couple of ways. We can support you with that through either coordinating directly and collaborating with a school to make sure those services get accessed either online and are successful with supports as needed. Oftentimes there’s also out-patient therapies such as speech, OT and physical therapy that we can make referrals for and monitor and set up for you as a family.
Q: How can Pine Tree Society’s Children’s Case Management encourage community engagement and help children in making friends?
A: A big part of what we do is connect kids and their families to the larger community. Making friends is often one of those things that is a priority goal for families for their children. We can do that through connecting to services, helping refer, managing those services, monitoring them for success as well as providing opportunities and peer groups with common interests that are in the community already.
Q: How can Pine Tree Society’s Children’s Case Management help children who are experiencing regression and/or anxiety?
A: During the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety has gone up for most people and kids are not an exception to that. Oftentimes, they have come in with anxiety disorders and some have seen regression as a result. We can help with that through accessing services that can directly address anxiety as a symptom. We can work on coping skills, we can work on exploring med management options if that’s appropriate, and whatever may work best for your child. There’s a number of therapies that could also be accessed as well as counseling.