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New Perspectives - Jun, 1997 Issue #46

Helping parents help their kids
Rexburg, Idaho
Matthew F. Smith, Program Administrator

“Family First Inc. is a therapeutic foster care agency that specializes in working with adolescent boys and girls, ages eleven to seventeen, who are experiencing mild to moderate emotional, behavioral and academic difficulties.” It “offers the final phases of the Balanced Approach by transitioning the youth into community based treatment and back to their families. Through a structured and systematic approach, the youth are moved from total isolation from family to normal involvement with the family and the community. While this transition evolves, both the child and the parents are involved in treatment that will support a healthy and stable environment for the youth to return to.”

“... we believe that the family unit is a sacred union that should be preserved where ever possible. With this in mind, we make a concerted effort to reunite the youth with their family. The success of a youth’s treatment is closely related to the amount of family involvement in the treatment process. For this reason, treatment plans specifically address the needs of the child within the broader context of healing the family unit.... As the youth advances within the program, parents will play a significant role in the treatment, by establishing themselves as the head of the household with the new skills they have developed.... By the time treatment is completed, both the parents and the child have gained the tools and skills needed to function as a family in the community.” 

Issue Specific programs include: The Behavior Management Program: “... provides the youth with a safe and highly structured home environment.” The Expectant Mothers Program; “... teaches young women the appropriate ways to care for and nurture an infant.” The Substance Abuse Program: “... provides an intensive treatment program for youth who are identified as having a substance abuse problem.” The Independent Living Program: “...teach youth to live without the financial support of parents or the government.” The Aftercare Program: “... includes monthly tracking of the youth, weekly support groups and early intervention services if needed.”

Copyright © 1997, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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