Aftercare Services (ACS) Program
Aftercare Services (ACS) is the family reunification component of the Liberty Resources Family Services offered to the Nueces County Juvenile Probation Department. The program provides comprehensive home-based intervention to families with children that have been placed in an institutional level of care by the family court as a result of juvenile offenses in the community. The purpose of the program is to reunite these children with their families and provide the services necessary to decrease continued juvenile offenses, prevent re-placement outside the home, and support the family to maintain long-term stability.
After a referral is made by the Nueces County Juvenile Probation Department, the family is contacted to begin the pre-admission screening process. The screening is conducted to ensure that Aftercare Services will best meet the family’s needs. Program services are voluntary and parents/guardians may choose to continue with the admission process or decline services at this time. To complete the screening additional information is obtained from multiple sources in the child’s ecology, including the placement facility and the Probation Officer.
Eligibility criteria for program services includes: 1) the child has been placed in an institutional level of care by the Nueces County Juvenile Probation Department; 2) the child and family have been referred to the program by the Nueces County Juvenile Probation Department; 3) the child has not yet reached their 18th birthday; 4) the child’s discharge plan is to return to parents/guardians; 5) the family has demonstrated an ability to benefit from services through their level of involvement in their child’s current treatment; and 6) the child is at risk for re-placement due to either a reoccurrence of the previous circumstances surrounding his/her placement, or not achieving goals set forth in their comprehensive treatment plan.
The ACS program is based on the Liberty Resources Family Reunification program initiated in Madison County, New York In 1997. This program was developed in response to concerns identified by the Madison County Department of Social Services regarding length of stay in institutional care and foster care, as well as concerns that the changes necessary to maintain the child in the home upon reunification were not being made. Data from the Madison County program suggest that children involved in the Family Reunification program are less likely to be re-placed by DSS.
The ACS program was developed by Liberty Resources in conjunction with the Nueces County Juvenile Probation Department as a replication of the Family Reunification Program. The primary goal of Aftercare Services is the reduction of both re-offense rates and re-placement of the child by the family court. The program has been accepting referrals since January of 2010.
The Nueces County Aftercare Services Program is based on the foundational belief that healthy family systems are not marked by the absence of problems but by a stable yet flexible structure to resolve problems and accommodate change as it is needed. In addition, healthy families exhibit a clear hierarchical structure placing the parental subsystem in charge and are defined by clear boundaries. The ACS program works with families by using research driven intervention from both Solution Focused Therapy and Structural Family Therapy to identify and intervene in barriers to healthy family functioning. In addition, comprehensive case management services are provided to ensure that families are connected to available community resources to support their efforts to maintain the child in the home.
Program services include:
- Pre-admission screening
- Comprehensive Family Assessment
- Family case management
- Family therapy
- Individual counseling
- Follow-up services