Roy Maas' Youth Alternatives, San Antonio, TX

Psychiatric Support Program at the Bridge Emergency Shelter

Abstract: Roy Maas' Youth Alternatives, Inc. (RMYA) has served abused, homeless and underserved children in San Antonio for 35 years. RMYA’s Bridge Emergency Shelter is licensed by the State of Texas to care for up to 20 children, 5-17 years of age.  The majority of children served are wards of the State and have a variety of special needs.  Children admitted to shelters routinely experience either a major delay in or no psychiatric services and, consequently, become a danger or disruption to the community or themselves. RMYA has a long-standing relationship with the University of Texas Health Science Center and has partnered with UTHSCSA to provide a psychiatrist for up to 15 hours a week to provide the following services: psychiatric evaluations; medication management; and staff training.  Our goal is to provide a seamless and efficient provision of services to identify children’s needs sooner, so they receive proper treatment more quickly.  The resulting benefits include: access to shelter services for more children who might otherwise have been considered a significant risk to themselves or the shelter population; other children in the shelter will have a more positive experience during a traumatic time; children moving to other living arrangements will be more successful due to  earlier intervention and treatment; children will improve self-esteem, decision making skills and behaviors as a result of earlier intervention and solutions.  It is imperative that these children get the services they need in a more expedient manner so the most appropriate setting can be found for their needs.

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