The goals of Youth & Family Connections are as follows...
- Identify youth with needs in our community.
- Maximize community partnerships and collaborative efforts designed to serve youth.
- Enhance public safety and well-being.
- Provide a free and efficient method for assisting youth engaged in at-risk behavior.
- Save police officer time by providing a safe drop-off site for juveniles.
- Serve as a resource for the community regarding youth-related issues and concerns.
Youth, age 10-17 can be referred to Youth & Family Connections through multiple access points within the community:
- Law enforcement officers may bring a teenager to Youth & Family Connections because they have committed a crime, run away from home, or are beyond the control of their parents;
- Schools may refer students who have been suspended, expelled or for truant behavior; and,
- Families, friends or neighbors may use the services of Youth & Family Connections to help them with a child in conflict or support a teen struggling as a pregnant/parenting teen.
How an Assessment works
Once at Youth & Family Connections, youth are assessed for individual needs which may include drug and alcohol use, mental health issues, educational needs and family concerns. This assessment is the basis for developing an intervention plan designed to support positive change and sustainable growth.
During the assessment, experienced staff meet with the parent/guardian and the youth to discuss the issues that brought them to YFC. After this initial discussion, a staff member completes the assessment with the youth in private, discusses assessment instrument outcomes and any concerns the youth may present in the assessment process. During this time, the other staff member remains with the parent/guardian to obtain historical information or behavioral trends of their child, dynamics of the home/family and ideas to resolve issues of concern.
Once the assessment is completed, staff members discuss the results of the assessment with the youth and parent/guardian, develop an individualized intervention plan and recommend specific services deemed to be supportive and helpful for the youth and parents.
A staff member will be assigned as a case manager to provide encouragement, support plan goals and help the youth/parent navigate school and community service systems for a four month period.
The type of services recommended vary based on youth/family needs, but frequently used service categories include restorative justice, mediation, drug and alcohol education/intervention/monitoring, mental health services/treatment, life skills training, anger management, aggression, relationship building and parenting skills classes. Assisting families to connection with basic needs/services such as long term shelter, utilities, food, medical care or transportation are occasionally required before families can create a stable living environment supportive of their engagement in other community based services.
Organizations like Youth & Family Connections have a proven track record and provide several benefits to their communities.
Efficiency - By utilizing a multi-agency, single-site location, in which experienced evaluators can obtain comprehensive information about a young person, the referral process is streamlined and duplication of efforts is minimized.
Safety - By determining problem issues early, intelligent decisions can be made and support services can be identified and put into place to provide maximum assistance.
Outreach - By identifying issues within a family unit, Youth & Family Connections can provide relevant resources for the whole family.