Over time, evaluation of our PATHH collaboration showed that many families referred to a mental health provider were not participating in available services. This prompted ChicagoCAC to examine barriers to engagement and figure out what we could do to better support our families. In 2014, the Family Support Services program was launched, composed of a team of family support specialists.
Specialists work with caregivers to address issues that may present as barriers for the family to participate in mental health services. They then develop a treatment plan and work with caregivers, linking them to resources to meet these needs, alleviate their stress, and help them focus on their child’s healing.
The family support specialist begins working with families while they are on the wait list for treatment and continues after they are referred for therapy services until their needs or goals are met, regardless of which PATHH provider they are referred to.
Supports for parents and caregivers include:
- Individual therapy offered on-site
- Open support groups in Spanish and English for non-offending caregivers. Any caregiver with children enrolled in services at FHC or who had a child receive services from ChicagoCAC is welcome to attend.
- Family-Centered Coaching – a holistic approach where parents and the specialist work collaboratively to identify areas of need and set goals
- Parent groups where caregivers learn how trauma impacts children and strategies for helping their children
- Monthly Community Nights, such as group dinners, games, and activities to do as a family
- Referrals to a wide array of community resources