Interview: Sheryl Lyons, Children’s Home Society

Children's Home SocietySheryl Lyons is a Program Director at Children’s Home Society for the Behavioral Health & MODEL (Mentors Opening Doors Enriching Lives) mentoring programs.

One of Children’s Home Society’s many programs is Targeted Case Management. This program is a service with a track record of linking children to success by advocating for them, coordinating services, and following up to ensure excellent outcomes. It’s staff is dedicated to the program and to the clients…so dedicated in fact, that this year, Case Manager Luann Thompson, was named Employee of the Year.

If you have a child with emotional difficulties who needs multiple mental health services and is at risk for needing residential treatment where can you find help?
In Brevard County, you can find support and assistance from the Children’s Home Society (CHS) Targeted Case Management program. Serving children with or at risk for emotional disturbances, who are 0-17 years of age, mental health case managers can work with a child and their caregivers to provide assessment, service planning, advocacy, and coordination of services.

How can one access the program?
Call CHS, then a case manager can link to, arrange, and coordinate services such as individual and group counseling, behavioral analysis, psychological and psychiatric evaluations, and more.

What does someone need to do to participate?
The great news: anyone can refer a child for Targeted Case Management services— including parents, school personnel, Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) staff, and behavioral health providers in the community.

Children's Home SocietyWhat does it cost the family/caregiver?
Nothing. Case management services are billed either to Medicaid or to a contract CHS has with DCF’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program office.

Sheryl, regarding the MODEL program, how important is mentoring?
Very important. Research demonstrates that youth who are involved in mentoring programs do better in school, have improved family and social relationships, and are less likely to engage in negative activities.

Who are the mentors?
They are people like you and me. They can be college students, retired teachers, empty nesters, working men and women who are 21 or older and who would like to enrich the life of a child. Of course, there are other requirements, such as successfully completing an application and background screening. We also ask that mentors provide references. And, they must be willing to devote at least one hour a week for one year to mentor their child.

The excellent services we provide are aimed at improving the presenting emotional or behavioral difficulties, increasing the number of days the child attends school, and increasing the number of days the child spends in the community.

For more information, please call 752-3170, ext. 263 or visit our site at