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In this episode of The 411 Live, host, Beverly Taylor meets with Samantha Kovatch, Margaux Baumgarten, and Kjersten Pederson, to introduce a comprehensive community service program for adults and youth.

Samantha Kovatch says, “If you’ve really gotten deep and dark into the substance abuse role or situation and you just want to get out of it and you don’t know how to get that help. Somebody could definitely reach out to Jewish Family Services.”

They not only discuss all the available services the Comprehensive Community Services (CSS) side of the Jewish Family Services offers, but they also talk about the close connections they make, the goals they help members to achieve, and the lives that have been changed through their connections not only to therapists but employers as well. They assist some clients get jobs. The key to living your best life can be only a call away.

Additional Information

What is CCS (Comprehensive Community Services)

  • Voluntary Medicaid program- Adults and Youth
  • Mental Health or Substance Abuse diagnoses (or both)
  • Services are rehabilitative and recovery focused- promote independence
    • Wide range of services to address different types of needs
  • Community based program (services can be in-home, office, or out in community)
  • Choose goal(s) based off of consumer’s needs
  • Recovery plan is created with services to address goal(s)
    • Plan is revisited every 6 months

What would lead someone to seeking CCS service? 

  • Homelessness (loss of employment, displaced by family/ friends, abusive relationships, poor communication/ independent living skills)
  • Lack of resources/ or knowledge about community programs
  • Mental health or substance abuse issues that make managing day to day activities difficult.- We see a lot of untreated drama, family history of substance abuse, abuse that cause people to develop mental health symptoms or an addiction issue
  • New Mental health or substance abuse diagnosis that you want to learn more about and work towards a more independent life

Who do I call to get into CCS? 

Contact a CCS agency directly (Jewish Family Services 414-467-1548)
Call the CCS referral line (414-257-6060)
Call the CARS referral if you don’t know what kind of help you need (414-257-6901)

What kind of services can someone receive through CCS? 

Examples include; talk therapy, access to groups (therapy, peer run or skill development) medication management, independent skill development, peer support, equine therapy, art therapy, music therapy, FLOAT services, personal training, dietician services, payee/ financial coaching, employment help)

  • What is IPS
    • Individual Placement and Support, supporting those with severe mental illness, homelessness, substance abuse issues, and other barriers that get in the way of job searching, interviewing, and holding a job
    • Non-exclusionary
  • how employment or lack thereof effects a person’s quality of life speak to previous experience
  • Diversity of experiences in a company
  • The importance of a personal narrative- build it before people and employers build it for you, interview skills
  • Barriers- my experience with hiring people with job coaches, implicit bias

What is a care coordinator? What do you like about being a CC/ employment specialist?

  • Someone assigned to a participant who helps them to identify their goals, services and helps to put together their recovery team
  • Makes referrals and coordinates providers and services
  • Facilitates meetings with providers to make sure needs are being met and monitor progress
  • Helps them to walk through the mental health network and get the help that they need

Contact Info

Samantha Kovatch (Mental Health Professional/ CCS program manager)
414-467-1548   [email protected]

Kjersten Pederson (CCS Care Coordinator)
(414) 807-0329 [email protected]

Margaux Baumgarten (MCFI Employment Specialist)
414-369-8730
[email protected]

Jewish Family Services
1300 N. Jackson St.
Milwaukee WI, 53202
Phone: 414-390-5800
Website: jfsmilw.org

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Beverly Taylor, Host

Beverly Taylor is a prober, listener and talker. She utilized all those skills as an anchor and reporter at WITI-TV (Fox 6 News). During her 21 years there, Beverly became a very recognized face in southeast Wisconsin. The most rewarding aspect of the job for her was telling stories that make a positive difference in people’s lives and stories that bring awareness. That included multiple stories about sex trafficking, which makes this podcast about the subject a logical fit.

For her efforts, Beverly has received a lot in return. She’s met people in different stages of life: during their most joyous times, their most vulnerable times, and their most painful times. These people have given Beverly tremendous examples of courage, generosity and determination.

Beverly has received many honors for her reporting, including three EMMY nominations. The University of Tennessee graduate also has a Master’s Degree in Dispute Resolution from Marquette University. She left TV news in December of 2019. Resolving conflict is another way she hopes to make a positive difference in the lives of others. She is a video production contractor, voice-over artist and podcaster.

Putting God first is a constant aim for Beverly. She is a member of New Testament Church of Milwaukee, and loves hanging out with her husband Julian and son, Nate.

Lashondra Scott, Producer

LaShondra Scott is a visionary leader on a mission to change the conditions, mindsets and attitudes of community residents through transformative and mission-driven films, television shows and new media.

LaShondra, a production executive for over 15 years, has produced and directed television programing, documentaries, video and radio content that has been broadcasted on a variety of outlets including, MPTV, radio 1290 WMCS and cable outlets. Scott, President and CEO of Neo Soul Productions also creates inspiring videos for business, organizations and non-profits.

LaShondra’s keen interest in her community and an intense desire to change the conditions so many of her fellow citizens experience, help her focus her eye on films that make a difference. With God’s guidance, she seeks to completely transform the mindsets and attitudes of individuals as wells as provide a sense of direction and purpose for all who share her vision.

“Always live life with a purpose” is Lashondra’s motto. She strives to make at least one person smile everyday because, as she says, “You never know what that person is going through, and making them smile could change their mood and make life just a little better.”

At an early age, Lashondra saw her life through the lens of a camera. She was 16 when she decided that television/video production would be her vocation. With that in mind, she attended Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and earned an Associate’s Degree in Television/Video Production. She then earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University in Glendale, WI.

She is on the programming committee of the Milwaukee Film Makers Alliance and is part of the Human Trafficking Taskforce of Milwaukee and Sojourner’s Family Peace Center’s human trafficking task force.

Dewayne Edwards, Associate Producer

Dewayne Edwards was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He loves all areas of filmmaking and is passionate about using the world around him to inspire his stories. With his passion for writing, he loves to develop stories to not only show a journey but to get the audience thinking.

With experience in writing, producing, and directing, Dewayne inspires to grow the filmmaking community in Milwaukee to show the different ways we can express our creative minds. Having grown up in Milwaukee, Dewayne knows that there are a lot of stories to tell to help and inspire people all over the world.

Emma Bonack, Social Media Manager

Emma Bonack is an aspiring writer and film director. She attends UW-Milwaukee for business and film and has written travel blogs for Visa Calculators and Ferries, and completed research under CEO Lashondra Scott for awareness on sex trafficking. Through her writing, Emma hopes to positively influence society by promoting happiness, health, wellness and a connected community.