We engage students as members of our Safe Place Advisory Board, to give input to the community regarding our outreach activities in our Shelter program. We offer placed-youth and youth volunteers the option to participate as members of the Safe Place Advisory Board, and/or as advisors with our Northern California Family Center Board of Directors.
When a practical agreement about living arrangements is struck in mediation, the groundwork for the next phase of the intervention is laid, conventional family counseling. When the goal is to is to strengthen family relationships, we will provide or refer the families to family counseling . Making family counseling available to all clients is important because it begins the process of showing how a group can engage its individuals in a coordinated effort to share, not evade, responsibility. This involves a change in attitude for both parents and youth.
We provide recreational services and referral to after-school programs. Recreation helps to rejuvenate the spirit and free one from the difficulties of day-to-day stress. Near our receiving center, The Brown Street Park has both basketball and tennis facilities. The Marina has a public dock, Wilderness Park and a Skateboard Park. Our emergency foster families attend a range of entertainment events as well as access their local parks. We will refer youth and their families to other community based agencies (such as the Boys’ and Girls Club, the YWCA, the YMCA) which fill this role.
We see a return to placement in less than 20% of our referrals over one year. Case management will conclude with 65% of youth returning to family of origin and 19% to 22% moving to live with extended family or friends of the family. Child Protective Services and other institutions will take less than 10% into custody. We will refer to other support services in the community as the need arises . We also refer to other specialists with a more focused intervention as the youth returns to live with family or extended family.
Runaway youth are asked to complete a Evaluation of Mediation and Placement Services on discharge from the program in which they make suggestions about how we might improve our intervention services. Youth outreach workers, referred by the Office of Education Youth Development Services, circulate flyers, bulk mailings, and stickers and conduct telephone follow-up to inform and gather information from the public about youth services.
We also employ youth at NCFC. Some of the youth which we employ from Youth Development Services have become Intake Staff providing intake assistance and are otherwise involved in the delivery of community contact services. One youth, who was in foster placement came into our program and is now conducting Orientation training for potential foster parents.
When feasible, we have youth volunteers at the local high schools disseminate information about the program to students at the schools. We also get youth involved by identifying what the needs are of youth who run away, where they go, the best places to contact them.
We provide or refer our kids and their families to aftercare services. Social Workers maintain or refer to other therapists depending upon the family’s preference. These services may include: drug and alcohol intervention, psychological evaluation, support groups for gay and lesbian issues, skills-based groups for parenting, anger management, life skills, employment training, etc. We conduct mediation and/or counseling in about 70% of our placement cases. Ongoing family counseling allow for continued monitoring of family conflict and mitigate acting out behavior.