ARE YOU AND YOUR CLIENTS GETTING A QUALITY TRANSPORT SERVICE?br>Extended Insights
Oct 13, 2005, 12:37
By: Eddie Curry, President and Director
First Step Adolescent Services, Inc.
We have all heard the horror stories about transports/escorts gone bad. Over the past few years, there has been an influx in transport services, all claiming to provide quality work. But do they? To some degree, transport/escort work has become a commodity where most agencies actually do pretty good work while a few create the horror stories. But are there differences in quality from one to another among the good ones.
In my opinion, there is absolutely no excuse for an escort team to come into a child's room with bully tactics like a SWAT team. This is a child that needs help and is not someone on the FBI's most wanted list. But yet we hear too many stories of this happening. An escort should be there to help not hinder. Some have assumed that a law enforcement background qualifies a person to be an escort. It may help in some cases, but having a law enforcement background does little to provide guidance on how to take charge without making the situation unnecessarily frightening for the client.
Excellence is all about building relationships quickly so the escort team can be fully in control, and having established that control, reassure both the transported young person and the parents. I feel that the ability to do that extremely well is what separates the few truly excellent services from the many that are just competent.
How many times have you called a large transport service and they don't know which escorts will be doing the transport? The larger companies may sometimes have the advantage of having someone nearby, but who will do the transport? One advantage of the smaller companies is having a relationship with the person who will be transporting your client, and having a person with proprietary interest and years of experience actually providing the service.
I have been successfully transporting troubled teens since 1993. I feel that an escort should be more than just someone who gets the child to the program safely. My job is to help the whole family through each step of the escort process, starting with the parents in that first phone call. In some cases, the escort is the first step in helping the child. This is why I feel it is imperative that the process is as caring, compassionate and positive as possible. Making the experience pleasant for all is a priority. I prepare the child for the program he or she is going to attend. This eliminates 'fear of the unknown' and makes the transition from home to program much easier for the child.
Before every escort, I take as much time as needed to talk to the parents and Educational Consultant to get everyone's views so I can truly understand the needs of the child and family. I am also available to the parents, Educational Consultants and programs 24/7 to answer any questions, calm jittery nerves or to be updated on any changes. Remember, the parents are scared and this is their child, and it is the escort's job to calm these fears. I keep in constant contact with the parents, Educational Consultant and program throughout each step of the transport. I also contact the parents and Educational Consultant after every transport to update them on everything that was said, the kind of mood the child was in and to answer any other questions they may have. I have had this call last upwards of two hours.
At First Step, we treat all children as if they were our own and every parent the way we would want to be treated. If you have any questions or would like to comment about this piece you can contact us though our website.