The Families Together Program is an in-home family counseling service focusing on adolescents and their families. Workers attempt to improve the overall adaptive functioning of the family. Families Together workers meet with family members two to three times a week for a period of three months. Each worker maintains a caseload of five families. The target population is primarily adolescents between the age of 10 and 16 and their families. Children falling outside of this age range are considered on a case-by-case basis. The program is based primarily on a Structural Family Therapy Model; however, crisis intervention, psychoeducational, and concrete services are provided as deemed necessary. This voluntary, time-limited, and crisis-oriented program is currently in operation through the joint efforts of the Office of Children and Youth and Youth and Family Services.
The following criteria are utilized when determining if a family is appropriate for service:
- One custodial parent must call the Office of Children and Youth to make the referral.
- The child must be between the ages of 10 and 16. Children falling outside of this age range, as stated above, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- The family is in crisis or experiencing serious difficulties.
- At least one parent must be in agreement to work with the intensive services.
- The family must be in agreement to have the child remain in the home.
- The child should not have a recent history of residential or mental health inpatient placements or a major mental health diagnosis.
- The child should not currently be on probation and incorrigible behavior by the child, in itself, does not qualify the family for the program.
- Priority will be given to parents who have tried to seek help and no appropriate resources were available to them and/or who have been involved with other agencies but need more intensive services for the child to remain at home.
The Office of Children and Youth Intake Department screens all referrals for the Families Together Program. Once screened, and if determined to be appropriate for the Families Together Program, referrals are routed to the Families Together Supervisor upon openings in the program. It should be noted that no formal waiting list is maintained as referred families are often in a state of crisis.