Children & Families First (CFF) is a non-profit social services agency in Delaware that helps children facing adversity on their journey to adulthood. We use proven methods to help families raise their children so they can flourish. We began using Your Journey Together (YJT) just over one year ago as part of our new Parent Aide Services (PAS) program. Your Journey Together is a program developed by the Devereux Center for Resilient Children. YJT is a strength-based curriculum for parents involved in the child welfare system designed to build resilience in their children and themselves. The CFF program serves clients who have open treatment cases with the state child welfare system, providing them with Parent Coaches who help families build the skills they need to be successful. Our Parent Coaches have had to be creative, using the YJT modules and materials where and when they can. And as demonstrated by the following examples, the YJT program structure and materials have helped us help our families become more resilient, increasing their odds of becoming self-sufficient and needing fewer formal support services.
One PAS family has used YJT to understand child safety, which had been an on-going issue in court. This family started as a placement case, with the Parent Coach supervising visits in the agency offices. When the case reached the time for trial home placement, the Parent Coach began to use YJT with the client. As the family approached reunification, there was a bump in the road when the court and extended family expressed concerns again regarding the child’s home environmental safety. The Parent Coach used YJT’s Caregiving Practices Module 2.5 Handout about the environment, which helped the client understand how important providing a safe environment is to her child. Mom decided to make changes; rearranged furniture and installed baby gates. As this case continues to move towards reunification, the Parent Coach can now testify that the client made changes to the physical environment in order to keep her child safe, something she could not have done before.
Another family has used YJT from the beginning of their case services. When the Parent Coach first met this client, she was in an abusive relationship. In fact, the Parent Coach needed to introduce resiliency concepts while meeting with the client in a parked car. Another day, the Parent Coach accompanied the client into the social service building, and then sat outside the door on the floor in a private nook completing the YJT’s Caregiving Practices Module 2.3 Handout about consistency while they waited for the client to be seen. These worksheets addressed the importance of routines, leading to a discussion of the client’s current living situation. At this time, one of the client’s children was having terrible 2 year old tantrums. The Parent Coach was able to help the client see how the need for consistent meal times and bedtimes factored into the child’s behavior. Soon after, the Parent Coach picked up the client and her children on a street, after they were thrown out of their home following a domestic violence incident. The client consented to a safety agreement and moved into a domestic violence shelter. The Parent Coach continued to meet her there for several months, completing more YJT stepping stone lessons and utilizing the easy handouts. The client decided to leave the abusive relationship and is now living on her own in stable housing. The young child has begun to learn important skills related to self-regulation. The Parent Coach continues to help the mom understand child development, caregiving, consistency, attachment, and bonding. This case began over a year ago, and is closing within the month.
As can be seen from these families, YJT has enabled them to overcome barriers and bounce back from significant adversity. We at CFF are excited to have this program and to offer this service. Sometimes there is slow progress, but with persistence, YJT helps clients achieve their desired outcome. Our Parent Coaches are helping our clients create positive changes for their families, using the Your Journey Together.
For more information about YJT click here!