ECCF's 13th Annual Youth at Risk Conference, held on June 5th at Endicott College, was a great day of learning and networking. The region's only all day conference designed specifically for professionals working with at risk youth was attended by over 700 social workers, counselors, court personnel, psycologists, nonprofit staff and others. The keynote was delivered by Michael Thompson, best-selling author and psychologist, who is devoting his career to helping educators understand boys and how they can be better supported in the school environment.
The 4th annual Diruhi Mattian Memorial Award was presented to Mark Lebon, VP of Ambulatory Services at Lahey Health Behavioral Services and a professor of counseling and social work at Salem State University to honor his daily impact on youth at risk. The acknowledgement was especially appropriate given the comments shared by Vic DiGravio at the preconference breakfast for donors, lawmakers and community leaders. "A major concern in the care of youth today is the lack of access to mental and health behavioral services. There are good counselors and agencies but insurance companies do not reimburse them in full causing care providers to lose money on the services they provide. This has caused many to close their doors or stop accepting insurance", DiGravio said and he shared a story of one mother having to call over 60 doctors and counselors to find the care she needed for her son. We hope calling attention to this issue will help put pressure on insurance companies to reimburse in full agencies providing behavioral health services.
Twenty-five workshops were offered in two breakout sessions giving attendees an impressive array of topics to choose from such as, 'Emotional Challenges of Students with Language Based Learning Disabilities', 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents' and 'Collaborative Engagement of Parents and Caregivers in Behavioral Health Care'. At the end of the day, qualifying attendees were awarded Continuing Education Credits for participating in the program.