Casa Mesita on track to regain active status

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By Roger Snodgrass

The Casa Mesita Group Home will be turning on the lights again and Los Alamos Family Council is also getting some needed help for the remainder of the year from a statewide funding source.

Officials from ValueOptions New Mexico presented a $100,000 check to Casa Mesita to support the organizations campaign to resume operations, perhaps as early as this summer.

Also on Wednesday, A $9,500 check went to Los Alamos Family Council.

The money came from special fund governed by ValueOptions, a New Mexico organization that manages the contract for the state’s behavioral health network. Part of the annual budget, $3.1 million this year, was set aside for a round of reinvestment at this time in the budget cycle. Another $7.2 million was added to the fund through management efficiencies and state efforts to increase enrollment, according to information provided by ValueOptions.

“ValueOptions gave $100,000 from its reinvestment fund to bring Casa Mesita’s programs back up,” said Patsy Romero, ValueOptions regional director this week during a visit to Los Alamos.

“Casa Mesita has been in inactive status since July 2007 to reassess our curriculum and look at the financial expenses that besieged us,” said Phyllis Bailey, the vice president of the Casa Mesita board. She said the board of directors is working on accomplishing everything needed for to be back up and running.

Patrick Sullivan, board treasurer said, “The sole purpose of the money is to accomplish what needs to be done to regain active status and active certification, including hiring and training staff and preparing the house to accept girls again.”

“We hope to re-open before school starts, in time for the girls to become adjusted,” said Bailey.

Casa Mesita was founded in 1972 and continues to serve Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties. It is also committed to serve nine counties of Northern New Mexico, along with Native American pueblos and the Navajo Nation.

The home is a haven for traumatized females, ages 12-18 years, who are unable to live in their own homes because of abuse, neglect or family conflict. The residents receive intense therapy, nurturing, tutoring and training in social and independent living skills.

There are no other agencies in the region that provide the same services, although the need is great in terms of number of children reported by state agencies to be suffering from abuse and neglect.

At the new location on Sycamore Street, Casa Mesita will be able to accommodate two additional occupants, bringing the total residential capacity to eight young women.

Funding for Los Alamos Family Council will cover un-reimbursable expenses related to providing personal counseling services and to support a special training program. Family Council also offers community programs, crisis intervention, youth activities and other services.

Romero said the coordinated program managed by ValueOptions began in 2005, in recognition of the state’s rock bottom ranking in behavioral health 51st in the nation, including Puerto Rico.

The program “braids” disparate funding sources to help consumers who may be eligible for assistance under one or more avenues of public support, so that they can be fully covered and their providers can be fully compensated.