Strengthen Families (SF) is a program branch that Liberty Resources Family Services offers in Webb County through the Juvenile Probation Department in Texas. The program provides comprehensive home-based intervention to families with children that are referred from the probation department as a result of juvenile offenses in the community. The purpose of the program is to work with the caretaker to provide the services necessary to decrease continued juvenile offenses, prevent placement outside the home, and support the family to maintain long-term stability.
After a referral is made in Webb County from the Juvenile Probation Department, the family is contacted to begin the pre-admission screening process. The screening is conducted to ensure that the FS 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 is at risk of reoffending with Webb County Juvenile Probation Department; 2) the child and family have been referred to the program Webb County Juvenile Probation Department; 3) the child has not yet reached their 18th birthday; 4) the child will remain with the parents/guardians in their home; 5) the family has demonstrated an ability to benefit from services through their level of involvement in their child’s current treatment.
The FS 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 the changes necessary to maintain the child in the home and keeping them from placement outside the home. Data from the Madison County program suggest that children involved in the Family Reunification program are less likely to be placed by DSS.
The FS program was developed by Liberty Resources in conjunction with the Fannin and Lamar Counties Juvenile Probation Department as a replication of the Family Reunification Program. The primary goal of North Texas PD/FRP is the reduction of out of home placements and both re-offense rates and re-placement of the child by the family court. The program has been accepting referrals since October of 2011.
Webb County FS 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 FS 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