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VYFS Announces New Director of Clinical Operations

Vashon Youth and Family Services (VYFS) announced today that it has hired a new Director of Clinical Operations, Heather Youngs, effective July 8, 2015. Ms. Youngs previously served VYFS as Manager of the Outpatient Addiction and Recovery Services program, and as the Quality Management officer for the Behavioral Health program. Her new position replaces the previous role of Clinical Director.

“We changed the job title to reflect the need to strengthen our operations in clinical areas,” said Kathleen Johnson, VYFS Executive Director. “Licensed mental health providers like VYFS are facing an array of mandates, ranging from implementing more Evidence-Based Practices, to establishing robust Quality Management practices, to converting to Electronic Health Records, and integrating with primary care. In all these areas, we need someone with a rich clinical background and an understanding of operations and management. We are excited that Heather has accepted this challenging role.”

Ms. Youngs lives on Vashon with her wife and their three children. “We are raising our family here. I’m invested in doing all I can to ensure this is a healthy, thriving community.”

Prior to joining VYFS, Ms. Youngs served as Clinical Supervisor for APS Healthcare and Helping Hands Hawaii, both in Honolulu, and at Community Psychiatric Clinic in Seattle. She has also worked as a Clinical Case Manager and an Intake and Referral Specialist. Ms. Youngs holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from St. Edwards University and a Bachelor of Behavioral Science from Concordia University, both in Austin, Texas. She is licensed as a Mental Health Counselor, a Chemical Dependency Professional, and an authorized Clinical Supervisor.

In addition to hiring Ms. Youngs as Director of Clinical Operations, VYFS has retained the services of Valerie Harrington, Clinical Psychologist, as a consultant reviewing the child and family programs at the agency. As Consulting Director of Family Programs, Ms. Harrington will provide some clinical supervision in the Mental Health department and lead program development and planning activities for the Family Education and Support Services (FESS) division of the agency. Ms. Harrington had previously served as the Acting Clinical Director at VYFS.

“We jumped at the opportunity to retain Valerie’s services. She has been instrumental in leading us through the change in leadership. Because of that, she understands our strengths and where we need to grow, and she is an expert in delivering effective services to children, youth and families.”

The focus on families is not new at the agency. However, VYFS’ Mental Health program is developing a new Child and Family team that will support clinicians in developing a specialty in serving children and families. “In the past we’ve taken family members as individuals and cared for them, and that has helped many people. However, understanding and working within the family system is often more transformative and critical for helping people overcome whatever barriers they face. We are developing and growing our expertise in this area, which is very exciting,” said Ms. Youngs.

“This is a time of great change at the agency,” said Johnson. “Some of this is coming from outside forces: changes in the healthcare environment, changes in funding priorities. For example, FESS has struggled for years to find sustainable funding for Birth to Six programs. To make sure we meet these challenges, we are building excellent programs that will strengthen the lives of people in this community. We want to be the first choice of people needing mental health and supportive services on Vashon. We want to be known as a compassionate agency that helps people change their lives.”