When 7-year-old John was referred to Allegheny Children’s Initiative’s Family Based Mental Health Services program by Children Youth and Families (CYF) in May 2018, he had recently started living with a new foster family. He had experienced significant trauma and was struggling. John was physically aggressive, had suicidal thoughts, ran away from home, and had ongoing problems at school.
Allegheny Children’s Initiative’s Family Based program provides therapeutic services to families. The services focus on supporting family members that may need extra support and reassurance during a young person’s course of behavioral health therapy. Clinicians conduct sessions both individually and by teams.
“John’s first round of Family Based treatment resulted in stabilization for John in the home and school. He and his foster parents were bonding,” said Elizabeth Errickson, Director of Family Based Mental Health Services at Allegheny Children’s Initiative. The foster parents were setting limits and enforcing boundaries with John. His care team eventually transitioned to other forms of therapy, but eventually decided that additional Family Based treatment would be the most helpful for John and his family.
At the start the second round of Family Based service, John was displaying many challenging behaviors. He was asked to leave multiple summer camps and daycare settings.
“The Family Based department worked together to support John and his family. We shared on-call duties, scheduled staff to be one-on-one with John during the day, and trained sitters and caregivers to support John while his foster parents were working,” Errickson explained. For six weeks, the Family Based department provided constant support and availability to support John and his caregivers.
This commitment allowed John to stabilize as the school year approached, especially as the Family Based team worked in conjunction with the school. John’s foster family even began the process of adopting John – giving him the stability he needed.
The successful outcomes for John and his family are the result of several service lines at Allegheny Children’s Initiative working together as a team over a period of time, helping John move from a place of trauma and acting out to a place of happiness and peace.
“John’s first round of Family Based treatment resulted in stabilization for John in the home and school.”