Helping more youth ‘reclaim’ their lives from the dark is wise use of LCSNW resources

by | Mar 20, 2023 | Behavioral Health, Family Support, Refugees & Immigrants

The growing WISe King County team meets to strategize ways to best support and advocate for their clients.

LCSNW has made a strategic decision to keep growing a popular family support program. The WISe program – which stands for Wraparound with Intensive Services – has operated in the Tri-Cities and Spokane for several years and recently expanded to King County. 

WISe brings together resources for low-income youth ages 12-21 experiencing behavioral and mental health challenges. Most clients in King County are immigrant and refugee adolescents. The program serves foster families as well as biological families. Clients stay with the program around 6 months; some come from LCSNW’s Unaccompanied Refugee Minors program.

Each youth gets a support team that includes a mental health clinician, youth peer and family support specialists, and care coordinator. The team engages in a holistic and individualized approach that involves parents, school counselors, juvenile justice diversion officers, and support systems that youth identify to guide them toward their goals. 

“It can be difficult enough adjusting to a new country and potentially being separated from family,” said Sierra Mision, WISe Clinical Manager in Seattle. “Then add concerns like depression or anxiety and it really can affect a youth who’s in the middle of developing new life skills.”

LCSNW next plans to expand WISe to other parts of the Greater Puget Sound District and potentially other areas later.

Sierra gives high praise to the Tri-Cities team for their help building the new program. Tri-Cities has operated WISe since 2014 and currently serves 200 youth. 

The King County team grew from 1 to 7 in the last two months, with two more positions planned. They are based out of LCSNW Seattle offices in the University District. Sierra has a diverse team – they speak a total of five languages – who will only get better as they work together. “They bring life experiences that help the teens open up to them.”

Care Coordinator DaYo Hutchinson-Watson was the first member of the King County team in June 2022. A current client – a young woman from the U.S. – is quickly becoming her most rewarding case to date. “She had a lot of depression and anxiety when we started and it colored every aspect of her life,” DaYo said. “She trusted us from the start, but now is trusting herself. She’s got a light glow on her face and she’s working on her goals. It’s so rewarding to help someone reclaim their life after the dark period they were in.”

WISe is funded by Medicaid and administered by the State of Washington.