Principles and Strategies for Family Treatment Programs The DC Family Policy

Principles and strategies for family treatment

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Principles and Strategies for Family Treatment Programs The DC Family Policy Seminar has developed a list of key model program principles and strategies for successful family-oriented programs: The program must be family-focused, with some services designed to focus on the parent’s needs, others on the child’s medical and developmental needs, and others on the parent-child relationship. Even when it is necessary to remove the child from the
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parent’s care at least temporarily, the parent still needs services to help regain the child (or release the child for adoption) The need is also great for preventive services to help the mother avoid further exposing any chil- dren to drugs. Programs must operate with a broad defini- tion of family. Relatives (usually the grand- mother) often share responsibility for the child, or will take over the care totally when the parent is incapable of doing so. These caregiving relatives need to be involved in services to help both the parent and child. “Significant others” living with the mother or father of the child may also need to be involved. Services also need to be provided for foster parents, both to enable them to meet the special needs of drug-exposed babies and children and to help encourage mutually supportive relationships between the biolog- ical parent(s) and foster parent. Programs must be flexible to offer a range of services with varying levels of intensity, since some parents are not as seriously trou- bled or in need as others. Close coordination must take place between the various agencies and service systems serving this population (namely, health care, protective services, social services, and the courts). Some communities have accom- plished this through establishing commu- nity coordinating councils with broad repre- sentation from a range of services in order to forge various interservice agreements. The lead program must develop good liaisons with community agencies that can provide parents with referrals to specific services such as employment, training, and housing services. Access to services must be simplified. A highly desirable program model is the “one- stop” services center, where many services are located under one roof. 7 Programs should include both home-based and center-based components. Home-based components are needed to make a thorough assessment of the patterns of substance abuse and the relative risk to the child; explore the resources available within the extended family and community; and develop supportive relationships in order to benefit from these resources. Center-based components are needed to draw these par- ents out of their social isolation, to intro- duce structure and routine into their lives, and to provide peer support and a familiar, secure place to turn during troubled times.
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