The Building Bridges Initiative is a national endeavor to promote practice and policy that will create strong partnerships between families, youth, and community. Our members proudly support BBI and are mutually guided by its Joint Resolution to Advance a Statement of Shared Core Principles.
Program Description

Vermont Support & Stabilization (VTSS) is a state-wide, community-based service model that provides various services for Vermont youth and family systems in a 90-day program. As a state-wide program VTSS operates in Regional Teams, with each Team providing services for multiple Vermont DCF Offices. 

 

Service Levels:

VTSS offers the following service levels with the goal of supporting youth and families at the Basic Level of service as soon as possible

  • Intensive: 8-12 direct service hours/week

  • Intermediate: 6-8 direct service hours/week

  • Basic: 2-4 direct service hours/week

 

Services Provided:

VTSS services are individualized based on the youth and family system’s identified needs but can include services from the following menu:

  • The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment (CANS)

  • Educational counseling

  • Case management and service coordination

  • Family Assessment

  • Plan of Care/Individual Treatment Plan (ITP)

  • Monthly Progress Reports

  • Discharge Summaries

  • Psychoeducation and parent training

  • Substance abuse counseling and education

  • Anger and behavioral management

  • Trauma informed care

    • Attachment, Regulation, & Competency (ARC)

  • ARC GROW: Caregiver Skill Building Intervention

  • Mentoring Services

  • Preparation for independent living

  • Role modeling and applied learning in the community

  • 24-hour on call support

Our Part in the "System of Care":

When considering our place within the Vermont System of Care, we know that we are one of many agencies working to assure that youth and families are able to access care at the least restrictive level with the desired outcome of keeping children in their home and community. As a result, we have worked to acquire and develop intimate, collaborative relationships with each DCF District Office, DMH Designated Agency, and various community partners (schools, clinicians, other providers, etc). From our perspective, our partnerships focus on how to work collectively to assure that all Vermont youth and families are 1) receiving the appropriate level of service based on the current need, 2) eliminating gaps in services for various reasons (capacity, shortage of providers, etc), and 3) working to assure that services are being offered at the least restrictive level. Our mission as an agency is to support youth and families with the goal of successful stabilization and engagement in treatment so that successful stepdown transitions, based on the individualized permanency plans, can occur safely. By way of example, for youth placed in our VTSS Program, our mission is to work with DCF and DMH to support the eventual transition to services provided by the local mental health agency. We are designed to be a short-term support, not one that youth and families should become dependent on. We work to stabilize, engage, and promote independence from our level of care so that youth and families can be served at the least restrictive level

Meet The Team
Steve Lussier.jpg

Steve has earned a Master’s of Education in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) from Johnson State College, graduated from Lyndon State College with a BS in Counseling/Human Services, and earned a Post Baccalaureate Certification in General Special Education through Granite State College. Steve is currently licensed in both Vermont and New Hampshire as a Special Educator and is being supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) as he works towards his own certification.

 

Steve has been employed in various roles with the Becket Family of Services since 1996, currently serving as the Executive Director for the Vermont Support & Stabilization (VTSS) and the Vermont Assessment Center @ Newbury (VACN). Steve is also a member of the organizational Senior Leadership Team. Previous roles include Head of School, Lead Special Educator, Director of Permanency Services for Vermont Programs, Residential Director, Family Service Coordinator, Special Education Coordinator, Adventure Based Enrichment Specialist, and Assistant Principal to name a few. Steve possesses a great deal of experience working directly with youth and families involved in both residential and community-based settings from all over New England, including working directly in the home with families from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. In Vermont, Steve is also actively involved with the Vermont Coalition of Residential Providers (VCORP), previously serving in various officer positions including Secretary, Vice President, and President.

 

Steve currently lives with his wife, Sarah, and their children, Emma, Cameron, and Elizabeth in Fairfax, Vermont.

Executive Director

Steve Lussier, M.Ed.

Melissa Edwards.jpg

Melissa completed her Master of Social Work degree in 2008 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Upon completion of her degree she returned to her native New England to pursue her professional career in social work. She joined Becket Family of Services in 2013 with a diverse range of professional experience within the field of human services. Melissa’s past work experiences include Northeastern Family Institute, Nevada Division of Children and Family Services, Horizon’s Academy, Easter Seals, and the Vermont Department for Children and Families. Over the years, Melissa held various roles and titles, including residential counselor, employment coach, social worker, and juvenile probation officer. She initially joined the Vermont Support & Stabilization team as a Permanency Clinician and accepted the Clinical Director position in November of 2016.

 

Melissa is currently licensed to practice clinical social work (LICSW) in Vermont. Her clinical training background includes a variety of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solutions Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and EMDR. She is currently undergoing supervision and consultation towards certification in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) psychotherapy and is currently providing EMDR therapy to select clients.

 

Melissa is passionate about working with children and families and believes personal/familial growth is achieved when children and families are offered a safe space to own and discover their personal power, drawing on strengths and insights of the family system to achieve identified goals.

Clinical Director & Regional Director

Melissa Edwards, LICSW

Aya Inoue.jpg

Aya received her BS in Psychology at the University of Vermont where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2007. As an undergraduate, Aya was the recipient of the Hannah Howard Prize and the Outstanding Senior Award for the College of Arts and Sciences. She completed her Master of Social Work degree in 2016 (UVM) after dedicating two years of field practicum work focusing on comprehensive clinical assessments. Aya joined Becket Family of Services in 2013 with a background in juvenile justice and working with adolescent populations. Prior to joining her current team, Aya served youth in a secure juvenile detention/rehabilitation setting in various capacities and roles over eight years; her passion for working with at-risk community based youth is driven by her goal of helping prevent as many youth as possible from being removed from their homes and communities. Aya has extensive experience in community reintegration and transitioning youth from residential treatment; she is committed to assisting youth and families in achieving permanency.

 

In addition to bringing a strong background in clinical assessment to the VTSS team, Aya offers services as a family and individual therapist whose practice is focused around trauma-informed and evidence based practices. She additionally offers EMDR psychotherapy and is actively working towards certification in this modality. Aya approaches her work with youth and families through the framework offered by Attachment Regulation, and Competency (ARC) and believes collaboration across environmental systems is a key factor in helping youth and families stabilize. She is currently registered as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with the State of Vermont.

 

Aya was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan and brings to the table a culturally sensitive perspective, along with a commitment to a practice that honors diversity.

Assistant Clinical Director

Aya Inoue, LICSW

Cindy Walier.jpg

Cindy earned her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Dance Movement Therapy from Antioch University in Keene, NH, graduated from Northwood University with a BA in Business Administration with a minor in Sociology. Cindy is working towards earning her CMHC license in the State of VT and most recently earned her EMDR certification. Adjunct certifications that support Cindy’s work today include; Sadhana Yoga Teacher Training (Keene, NH 2009) Gaia School of Earth Medicine (Putney, VT 2009 & 2011) Herbal Medicine and Nature Wisdom Apprenticeship (Peyrissaguet, France 2013) and completed Reiki I (Keene, NH 2014). Cindy continues to deepen her understanding and application of holistic healing and how it compliments her work with VTSS.

 

Prior to joining Becket VTSS as a Permanency Clinician, Cindy spent nearly 5 years at Groundworks Collaborative in Brattleboro VT as Co-Director/Lead Case Manager of Groundworks Shelter and was a member of the Groundworks Collaborative leadership team. Cindy learned a great deal about working with youth and families in the 31-bed residential shelter and has developed a deep understanding that emotional healing is possible and strives to bring this value to all aspects of her work with VTSS.

 

Cindy lives on Fox Farm in Brattleboro and meets people from all over the world who visit her Airbnb. Cindy has two grown children who come and go and can often be seen outside hanging out with her Bernese Mountain Dog.

Regional Director

Cindy Walier, MSW

Kathryn Fleury.jpg

As Executive Assistant, Kathryn manages all of the business accounts and oversees all aspects of the intake process for VTSS. She also serves as the program’s Human Resource Coordinator. Before joining VTSS, Kathryn worked for the State of Vermont, Department for Children and Families in St. Johnsbury, VT. Kathryn obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and Management from New England College of Business and Finance in 2016.

Executive Assistant & HR Coordinator

Kathryn Fleury, BSBA

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