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Nexus Receives Eureka! Award for Innovative Bridging Program

Nexus’ Bridging Program won the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2015 Eureka! Award for Corporate-Community Partnership.

The program is a new residential treatment model that provides shorter lengths of stay, intensive, care, positive outcomes for youth and families, and significant savings for counties. There are four primary objectives of the program, which provides a package of therapeutic interventions:

  • addressing a youth's mental health needs;
  • keeping the family relationship intact;
  • keeping professional relationships intact; and
  • integrating case management through comprehensive aftercare planning, intensive care coordination/case management, and a high level of accountability.

The outcome of these objectives is to deliver effective treatment results for youth, while providing significant savings to the county partner.

The Bridging Program at Gerard Academy was the result of Dakota County’s request to develop a new type of residential program. The county needed a partner to create a collaborative-intensive, family-integrated program, and Gerard Academy stepped up to the challenge.

Dakota County had collected data that indicated an intensive, collaborative treatment model could deliver effective treatment for an identified type of client, save the county money for the services, and return the client more quickly to family and community. The key was to create continuity of services before, during, and after treatment by assigning a therapist to work with youth and family and to coordinate community resources to support the youth and family after a residential stay.

The Bridging program is different because it assigns a community-based therapist to work with youth in residence at a Nexus facility from start to finish, meeting with the child and family on campus and with the family in their home. It also allows Dakota County to serve more youth, at lower cost, closer to home, with better outcomes.

Nexus partners with local community mental health providers to offer these therapeutic services to the youth in our care. The goals of the Bridging Program are not just traditional residential goals compressed into a shorter length of stay. Bridging is focused on interrupting and redirecting the current cycle of behavior so a youth can more quickly return home to a family better equipped to manage crises. Nexus and Dakota County staff worked together to define candidates, goals, and outcomes for the program.

The Bridging Program has increased Nexus' partnerships with community-based providers and has since been replicated with two other Nexus treatment sites.


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(Q&A with Dr. Michelle Murray, Ph.D.)