The targeted children/youth are easy to identify. As children, when they approach adolescence, they will have already had a lengthy history of receiving authority services. The authority will have made numerous unsuccessful attempts to engage the child/family in well-resourced efforts to support the family in maintaining its integrity. The level of intrusiveness will have increased over time. The child will experience several out-of-home placements, seldom returning to the same caregivers when the return home attempts fail. Many will have also experienced extensive trauma through, emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse by the time they are placed with us. They will be several grade levels below their potential and may suffer from severe effects of Trauma and have dual diagnosis. Many will be under permanent guardianship orders with only a tenuous connection to their families.
Many of the children who have witnessed/experienced violence/abuse will continue to exhibit the symptoms of Trauma and have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or other developmental delays. Children who have experienced early and persistent relationship disruption will exhibit the symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder. A portion of the children will qualify for the diagnosis of Conduct Disorder or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder, both serious designations with often poor prognosis. And finally, there may be a variety of substance abuse issues and disorders. This extensive list of issues, events and difficulties describes many of the children/adolescents needing the benefit of stable, emotionally, and physically secure relationships to achieve the best possible maturational development. However, the potential contradictory requirement to balance the needs of children with the desire to maximize the on-going integrity of the child’s family makes relational stability much sought after but seldom achieved.
The core of any successful Tertiary Prevention strategy is development of relationships with goals to help youth move through the Stages of Change to arrest the progress of an established event and to control its negative consequences: to reduce disability and stigma, to minimize suffering caused by existing Trauma, Loss and Grief, and to promote the client’s adjustment to irremediable conditions, "Minimize the consequences." The relationships must be positive, constructive, purposeful, and long term. This relationship is not a friendship, but rather a relationship with a purpose that is built on care, trust, and respect.
To be in these positive, purposeful, constructive, and long-term relationships with children/youth, we must believe that they can change and that it takes time to build these relationships with youth who are engaged in high-risk behaviors. We must in a short time help the youth to create concrete developments to start to heal what took years to create and prevent any further damage and decrease high-risk behaviors. The agency will evaluate each intake on a case by case basis however we are not equipped for physical disabilities requiring wheel chairs or extensive medical care.