Border Children’s Mental Health Collaborative
The inspiration for Incite Consultancy grew from the president and founder’s time with the Border Children’s Mental Health Collaborative in El Paso, Texas.
Filling a Void
Border Children’s was established in 2005 to address the growing number of young people diagnosed with mental illness and at risk of entering the justice system, leading to a life of imprisonment and potential drug abuse.
Border Children’s started with a vision to finally create a mental health center in El Paso focused on treating and healing children. This was in contrast to the status quo – nine months or more at a treatment center over 350 miles away from El Paso with little to no physical visitation from family and friends. Children would then reenter the same home environment that contributed to their condition in the first place.
Border Children’s was launched, completely funded by a $6 million-per-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). By 2008, however, an FBI investigation exposed corruption among circles of local elected officials charged with oversight of the program. SAMHSA immediately discontinued funding, and Border Children’s was essentially “dead in the water.”
Tarnished leadership and corrupt service providers had derailed a wonderful vision.
There was anger; anger that those who would suffer most from the corruption among our trusted elected officials would be our most vulnerable of children. – Rosalinda, recalling the emotionally charged series of events
On the verge of collapse, Border Children’s clung to a staff of three and a new director. Incite founder and president Rosalinda Natividad aggressively rallied the community and remaining stakeholders. She reignited passion for the mission and brought together partners to collaboratively seek funding under the new director.
Border Children’s repositioned itself with multiple community partners, and several funding sources awarded the organization grants totaling $5 million.
Not only did Border Children’s doors stay open, the organization regained its political traction and, with renewed community confidence, successfully garnered $10 million for a state-of-the-art treatment facility staffed by twenty-one licensed professionals.
Rosey had the foresight to think not only of grant funds. She paired services with other groups in the community to create unique value to the funder. – Rita Ruelas, Border Children’s Director
A Relevant Institution
Today, several of the stop-gap grant funds have run dry, but the re-branded El Paso County Department of Mental Health Support Services (MHSS) receives the bulk of its revenue in the form of contract work for other organizations. This County department’s value to the community is such that it actually invoices other entities for its services.
The story coming full circle, MHSS is currently seeking to become a budget-neutral County department while it serves thousands of El Paso County youth and adults!
In the struggle to survive as an entity, Rosey actually pushed the community’s service offerings forward.
– Rita Ruelas, Border Children’s Director