Leah Piassick, Director of Grant Acquisition & Management, Austin Child Guidance Center
How did your organization pivot/adapt during the pandemic? Did the change impact the people you serve, if at all?
ACGC has faced many challenges during the pandemic, but through it all we have experienced major accomplishments. We seamlessly pivoted to implementation of teletherapy services six months earlier than planned to ensure our clients were not without care and treatment. Included in this transition was our continuation of Infant and Early Childhood services, usually provided within child care centers, via a virtual platform, as well as expanding family/caregiver workshops to increase information to families needing extended support. None of this would have been possible without the swift support of our funders like the Moody Foundation who granted COVID funding awards to continue providing services.
The pandemic has been especially hard on our clients and families – social isolation, home schooling, uncertainty, sickness, death – so it was important for ACGC to extend a hand to those without online access through a technology lending library that provides equipment and/or internet access to clients indicating these needs. Clients may check out devices to utilize during therapy sessions, thus ensuring that children and families continued to receive the care and treatment they needed while in-person services were not available.
How many people does your organization help every month/year? Any volunteers?
ACGC assists children and families through therapy, psychological assessment, psychiatric services, case management and education; individuals within the community through education; and child-serving professionals through consultation and training. Since the pandemic began, ACGC has served fewer children and families, but those families remained in therapy for a longer period of time – from three to four months to four to six months. This has been coupled with staffing reductions related to the pandemic, as well as limited child care center consultations, and has resulted in fewer overall individuals served than in prior years.
For FY 2020-2021, ACGC served 1,217 children and families through individual, family, and group therapy, workshops and education and case management. Services during this time were severely limited due to the pandemic and only provided via a telehealth platform. Our reach climbed to 2,316 individuals served after including participants from the numerous professional trainings and workshops provided throughout the year.
How have you used the Moody Foundation’s recent grant to serve your community?
The Moody Foundation’s most recent gift to ACGC was used to ensure children, families and the community were able to continue receiving mental health services and treatment by highly-trained and specialized mental health practitioners during the pandemic. Specifically, grant funds were applied towards personnel expenses of our clinical staff.
Where can the community go to find more information on how to volunteer, donate to your organization and/or a schedule of upcoming events?
Please go to austinchildguidance.org for more information on how to volunteer, donate to ACGC and/or view a schedule of upcoming events.