The Division of Youth Services offers Family Therapy to its youth and their families. The Division uses a Systems approach to therapy which incorporates youth, parents, alternative caregivers, as well as, siblings when appropriate. The goals of this approach are to encourage families to recognize their strengths, educate regarding effective parenting skills with logical consequences, and to improve communication within the family.
A Family Therapy referral is initiated by the Service Coordinator based on a needs assessment. Once the referral is made, a Family Specialist is assigned and makes initial contact with the family. Family Therapy usually begins while the youth is in a residential placement and may address such issues as communication skills, anger management, conflict resolution skills, and establishing appropriate familial boundaries. The frequency of these sessions is determined mutually between the families and the Family Specialists.
The Family Specialists are committed to providing ongoing communication with the facilities and the Service Coordination unit. This allows for the most holistic approach for the families. The Family Specialists also attend regular staffings and assist in the implementation of the Individual Treatment Plan.
Once the youth successfully completes the residential phase of treatment, the Family Specialists continue to be involved to ensure the most appropriate level of continued support. This also serves to ease the transition from residential placement to community placement. Additionally, Family Specialists collaborate with other assisting agencies to determine the most effective provision of services to the youth and their families.
While the Division accepts referrals from other agencies on a limited basis, most of the young people participating in the Family Therapy program have been committed to the Division and/or are involved in other Divisional programs, such as Day Treatment.