Genesis Children in Limbo

Fresno, CA Last month when Fresno County discontinued its mental health contracts with the troubled Genesis organization ... it directed Catherine Huerta of Children and Family services to find a replacement provider ... and the approximate 100 children receiving services through Genesis would have to be transitioned over to new counselors with the county's mental health department.

Catherine Huerta said, "What genesis has agreed to do is work with us through this transition so that the therapist will work with us as we transition to a new therapist and work with the family ... we're gonna try as hard as we can to make it as smooth a transition as possible." Huerta anticipated the tough transition for the children at Genesis ... what she didn't anticipate was to have to go through the long bidding process to find a replacement provider for Genesis. She says she has now followed the Board's direction, went out for RFP, but it puts her about 30 days behind. Now new referrals may have to wait as long as two months before they get help.

The Craycroft Center in downtown Fresno is where Child Protective Services brings children who've been abandoned, abused and neglected. On average more than 50 children pass through the center every month. Many of them are in desperate need of mental health services.

Larry Gray, of the Craycroft Center said, "We deal with the victims ... first time placement ... so you can imagine at five years or six years ... even 17 years old and you're out of the home for the first time ... it's a scary, scary time. "

Larry gray says he has confidence Catherine Huerta and her staff will take care of his little clients. And Huerta says despite the changes and the overload in cases ... no child who needs care will be turned away.

Huerta said, "You look at every child, every single circumstance, what that child needs, and you make a determination. Can this child wait? Or does this child need to be seen now? If the child needs to be seen, we're gonna see that child."

For now Huerta has her plan in place, but state budget cuts could cause her to shuffle her staff again at a moment's notice.

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