Keeping Families Together Community Programs (KFT) offer a unique blend of family preservation/family support programs to assist troubled families. These services are designed to build safe, structured, and nurturing homes and communities for children who are at risk for abuse, neglect or legal involvement. CHRIS staff members work in partnership with children and families to help each family identify the strengths and resources of its members, to prevent the unnecessary placement of children in foster care, to prevent the destruction of the family unit, and to successfully reunite children with their families. The goals are to strengthen the entire family structure, link the family and its individual members to supportive services in the community and to break the cycle of abuse.
Keeping Families Together includes the Prevention Program, the Aftercare Program, the Behavior Aide/Wrap Around Program and Camp CHRIS. All programs work in concert to strengthen families and the communities in which they live.
Keeping Families Together Prevention Program
This program assists troubled families in creating a family unit that supports and benefits each family member. In-home counseling for parents and children assists them in learning how to effectively work out their own crises, to improve parenting skills, to increase social skills and to assist the family in identifying and utilizing their own strengths and resources. These services are provided by a two-person team which also addresses the events precipitating the crisis. Families receive counseling, parenting skills training and therapy in their own homes for up to six months in order to facilitate and perpetuate enduring positive change in the family's patterns of interaction. Experienced family specialists work in the home during this period for weekly sessions of two hours. A two-person crisis team is available 24 hours/day for emergency situations. Central to the KFT Program is the goal of helping the family unit and individual family members develop natural support systems in the community that can provide ongoing stabilization and enrichment.
Keeping Families Together Aftercare Program
This program ensures the successful transition of troubled children from placement in residential treatment settings or other out of home placements to their families (adoptive, natural, relative or foster) in their home communities. These children have often been out of the home one to four years. The entire family needs help to live together productively after so much time has passed. Parents receive parenting skills training, help enrolling their child in appropriate classes and afterschool programs, assistance in monitoring the child's medication, establishing a routine, and developing appropriate discipline methods. Along with family counseling, these services reduce anxiety and help parents become more effective, While all children have a hard time with change, children with severe emotional disturbance handle transitions with even greater difficulty, even those who have received quality residential treatment. Their families need special help. A two-person crisis team is available 24 hours/day for emergency situations. Children and their families are provided intensive services to ensure a stable transition back to a "normal" life in their homes and communities.
Behavioral Aide/Wraparound Program
Behavior aides work with children in the home and in the community on a one-on-one basis as special friends, helping each child identify his/her strengths and talents and learn how to resolve problems more effectively. The behavior aide also helps each child make positive community connections.
"The camp that's hard to get kicked out of" is a nine week summer day camp for children and youth whose severe behavioral and emotional problems prevent their participation in regular summer camps. The program's goal is to provide a positive day camp experience, which meets their special needs while enabling their parents to maintain employment.
Director, Community Programs