Planning for Direct Behavioral Health Services


Grantee: Voices of Tomorrow
Timeframe: April 2023 – March 2024 | Amount: $30,000

VOT aims to serve families directly with behavioral health care professionals on payroll, and bill insurance including Medicaid for services. This project will anticipate and reduce barriers that might prevent VOT from being licensed by DOH. An intentional planning process will also result in a strong, sustainable program that aligns with VOT’s mission and values and is responsive to the East African immigrant & refugee community.


One of the key aspects of this project is working with an external consultant who can guide VOT on licensing, systems, and all nuances we need to consider before becoming a behavioral health organization. The project is broken into four stages; they anticipate by the closure of each stage the guiding questions for that stage will be answered.

  • Stage 1: Research and Learning:
    • Guiding questions: Which consultant can best guide us through our planning process? What are the DOH requirements? What paperwork needs to be submitted, and what is the application process? Who is our main point of contact from DOH?
    • Activities: Project Manager and executive team will connect with DOH to ask questions; connect with other licensed behavioral health organizations to hear their experience; research consultants and approach potential consultants.

Milestone: Answer guiding questions; Contract with a consultant

  • Stage 2: Legal and Infrastructure Matters:
    • Guiding questions: How do we meet liability requirements? What are the parameters for the program, and legal restrictions we need to be mindful of as a nonprofit? What are the extents of services we can offer? How do we bill Medicaid and insurance for services? What type of billing infrastructure do we need? What type of electronic health record do we need? What trainings will staff need related to billing, electronic record, and legal matters?
    • Activities: Project Manager and executive team will interface with legal team. Program Design and Policy Development Steering Committee, made up of VOT staff, families, health professionals, and the contracted project consultant, find answers to these questions.
  • Stage 3: Program and Personnel Design:
    • Guiding questions: What are the needs of the community? What do racial and health equity look like in this program? How do we create systems that make sure we center the community’s voice and promote equity? What types of services will we offer to align with community needs? What are our hours, schedule, and staff needed for operations? What facilities will we need? What is our staffing plan so we can carry out our scope of services? What are the educational and licensing requirements for staff?
    • Activities: The Program Design and Policy Development Steering Committee will design the new program with an equity lens, aligned with VOT’s mission and values, and answer the guiding question through a series of intensive meetings; weekly at this stage.

Milestone: Program Design and Staffing Plan complete; guiding questions answered.

  • Stage 4: Application Process and Next Steps:
    • Guiding questions: What are our next steps beyond the grant period?
    • Activities: The leadership team will ready all systems and apply to DOH for BHO licensure.

Milestone: Licensure application submitted.

About Our Grantee

Voices of Tomorrow

VOT’s mission is to preserve immigrant and refugee children’s identity through culturally and linguistically responsive child-focused programs.

Nimble Grant

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