News For and About CAHS Employees
May 2015
CAHS CONNECTIONS  Story Ideas / Photos
We welcome your story ideas and photos for upcoming newsletters! Items of interest include program news, events or achievements, presentations, births, 25+-year anniversaries, contests, etc. Please email ideas and photos with appropriate identifying information to
Coming Up at CAHS

Social workers from Capital Area Human Services School Based Therapy Program are providing eight weeks of summer enrichment programs for more than 170 school aged children with behavioral disorders. The programs will be held at 16 schools in seven parishes.  

Donations of bottled water and snack foods are needed by May 15 (
sorry, we cannot accept cash donations). Suggested snack donations include Rice Krispies Treats, granola and Nutri-Grain bars, cheese crackers, pretzels, animal crackers, and assorted chips. Please bring donations to Debra Hebert at the School Based Department, located in Building 1, Room 202, Government St.  Thank you!
Click here for info and to register

May 21
"Taking the Fear Out of Working
With the Suicidal Patient"

Presenter: Dr. William M. Schmitz, Jr.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation's Clinical Design Committee, chaired by CAHS Executive Director Dr. Jan Kasofsky, is scheduled to present its proposal on May 11.

The meeting will be held 1-3 p.m., at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd.  Click here to RSVP.

The committee was established in February to examine how Baton Rouge might re-establish appropriate approaches to better manage behavioral health crises in the region. The closures of two ERs and the Mental Health Emergency Room Extension (MHERE) have pushed more people who are in crisis into the parish jail. 

To help find solutions, Dr. Kasofsky was asked by BRAF to establish and chair the committee (see members here) and to facilitate discussions among experts, including the coroner, law enforcement leaders, peers, advocates, mental health lawyers, developmental disability experts, psychiatrists, emergency department and other physicians.

Other CAHS staff on the committee include Aniedi Udofa, MD, Scott Meche, PhD, and Certified Peer Tonja Myles. The meetings and discussions began Feb. 24 and ended in March. The committee's proposal was to be presented April 27, but severe weather caused that meeting to be rescheduled to May 11. 

"Our main goal is to avoid the use of the EBR Parish Prison as the de facto residential care and acute unit for people in a behavioral health crisis. The committee will present a more appropriate, humane, and cost effective approach for all people and families in need," said Dr. Kasofsky.
What's Happening At CAHS


A total of 23 police officers and sheriff's deputies successfully completed the CAHS Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Institute for law enforcement agencies in the greater Baton Rouge area. The 12th CIT training was held the week of April 13.

Since the program began in 2008, 349 officers have completed the 40 hour training. CAHS also leads an eight-hour certification training on behavioral crisis, and 782 law enforcement officers have completed that course. The 12th CIT credential was earned by officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department and by deputies of the East Baton Rouge Parish and West Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's offices.

The CIT Institute is directed by CAHS Program Manager for Training and Emergency Preparedness John Nosacka, 
LCSW, MSHCM  Other CAHS experts who presented were Scott Meche, PhD; Stephen Aguillard, LCSW; Karen Pino, LCSW; Justin Smith, LCSW; Scott Thomas, LCSW; Donna Matthews, LCSW; and Bryan Gros, PhD.

John Nosacka said the training is already having positive results. The Monday after the CIT Institute ended, a law enforcement officer called John to tell him he had used the skills learned during the week and the individual was safely taken to the hospital. Many tell CAHS that the skills they learned in the CIT training have assisted in deescalating crisis situations and have aided in more effectively responding to the needs of the mentally ill.

The 40-hour, POST-approved Institute is offered free of charge and is based on Atlanta and Memphis models to help law enforcement agents better relate to and help people who experience mental health crises. Participants can earn college credit through Northwestern State University upon completion of the program.
The term "complex trauma" describes both children’s exposure to multiple traumatic events (often of an invasive, interpersonal nature) and the wide-ranging, long-term impact of this exposure.

These events are severe and pervasive, such as abuse or profound neglect. The events also begin early in life and can disrupt many aspects of the child's development, including formation of "self."

Since the events often occur in the context of the child’s relationship with a caregiver, they interfere with the child’s ability to form a secure attachment bond. Many aspects of a child’s healthy physical and mental development rely on this primary source of safety and stability. Read the full article here.

Capital Area Human Services, in conjunction with Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities, has launched a campaign to promote a safe alcohol- and drug-free prom and graduation season.

"The pressure to drink and use drugs to celebrate these occasions can be overwhelming for many young people, and we want to help students resist those pressures," said Vivian Gettys, CAHS Prevention Division Director.

The campaign features a postcard with the message, "Don't let one bad decision decide your future." The artwork for the card was created by the Ascension Parish School System, and 700 postcards were distributed recently in 14 high and middle schools by CAHS School Based social workers and ICARE personnel. See the postcard design here.

The postcard urges teens 1) to be true to themselves, 2) not to let friends push them into things they believe are wrong or harmful, and 3) not to get into vehicles with drivers who have been drinking or using drugs. The postcard also conveys messages for parents, including, 1) provide safe alternatives for their teen children by hosting alcohol- and drug-free parties, 2) know what their children have planned for the evening, 3) offer to pick up their children without asking questions, if the need arises, and 4) lock up prescription medicines and make sure their children know the dangers of such drugs.

The postcard also reminds students and parents of the legal issues of drinking -- that it is illegal for persons under 21 to drink alcohol, and that drinking and driving can result in serious penalties, fines and the loss of driving privileges. Parents are warned that they can be held liable for providing alcohol to minors or for hosting alcohol parties for teens.

As part of the Drug Free Communities project, the West Baton Rouge Parish Coalition held a community walk on April 25 to raise awareness about "Alcohol Awareness Month." 

Toddie Milstead, CAHS Drug Free Communities Project Coordinator, said in spite of poor weather conditions, almost 50 people participated in the walk, held at Alexander Park in Brusly. Among those participating were WBR Parish President Riley "Peewee" Berthelot, WBR Parish School Superintendent Wes Watts, and the Brusly High School Band. Read the WBR Parish Council's proclamation here.

CAHS Executive Director Dr. Jan Kasofsky addressed the Sunrise Rotary Club in Baton Rouge on April 2. In her presentation, "Effective Responses for Managing Behavioral Health Crises," Dr. Kasofsky gave an overview of CAHS' services and outlined the behavioral health challenges in the region, including the lack of access to crisis behavioral health services. 
See Dr. Kasofsky's presentation here.

John Nosacka, LCSW, MSHCM, addressed the State Human Resource Management Association (SHRMA) on April 29 about the various issues associated with stress in the workplace. John's presentation included information about the causes of stress, steps that workers can take to manage stress, and ways businesses and agencies can lessen stress for employees. See John's handouts here.

CAHS and Issues in the News

Who's Who at CAHS

Who joined CAHS recently? Click here to see!

We wanted to take a peek behind the scenes to recognize Rafael Maza, IT Technical Support Specialist III in Web Development and Database Administration.

"Rafa" is a quiet man, but his work speaks volumes, often through larger-than-life images that appear on screens in numerous presentations throughout CAHS. But his work doesn't stop with the visual, as he also is the coordinator of audio-visual equipment that is used for meetings throughout the year.

In addition, Rafa manages Windows accounts, creates CAHS employee emails, updates the CAHS website and has created databases to assist various programs with their information management. He also helped translate the CAHS Client Orientation Handbook into its Spanish version. You're more likely to see Rafa than to hear him, as he goes about his work ... quietly.
We Would Like to Hear From You!
CAHS Connections is your newsletter, about and for the employees and activities of Capital Area Human Services. The employees listed here serve on the newsletter's Editorial Board and would like to hear from you. Just click on their names to send an email with your story ideas: Karen Bray, Rafael Maza, Lynetta Butler, Richard Brown, Jr., Michael Brown, Carol Everhart, Linda Melancon, Betty Mims, Shenitha Smith, and Gabrielle Brown.
Our Mission
To facilitate person-centered recovery by empowering people of all ages with behavioral health needs and developmental disability challenges to strengthen relationships, establish independence, and enhance their ability to improve their physical health and emotional well-being.
Our Vision
Our network provides local access to best practices that respond to the unique needs of individuals living in the District's communities.

Copyright © 2015 CAHS/Capital Area Human Services, All rights reserved.

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