Family involvement begins prior to admission and continues when the resident returns home. The family is expected to be actively involved in the treatment planning process.
Family therapy occurs two times weekly, with one session being conducted in the resident’s home. This allows the clinician to observe and provide support and coaching in the resident’s natural setting and address situations that usually occur at home. For example, the clinician can provide modeling and coaching to the parent during the transition hours home from school if this has been an identified time that the resident struggles.
In addition to family involvement in the treatment planning process(as clinically indicated) and family therapy, the family will be involved in a highly structured, accelerated therapeutic leave regimen. This will include intensive therapeutic leave preparation with clearly defined measurable goals and debriefing and follow up after the therapeutic leave. Families are also encouraged to have contacts with their children through telephone calls and letters.
The program will seek to be creative in seeking out supports, such as mentors and/or family surrogates as appropriate in an attempt to connect the resident and their family to the community to develop natural linkages.
Phone Calls, Messages and Letters
Telephone contact between residents and their families is encouraged. The best times to call, i.e., the times your child will most likely be available, are after 3:30pm and prior to 9:00pm each week day, and between 10:00am-9:00pm on the weekends. Your child may call out to you during free time a maximum of twice per shift. Phone calls must be limited to 10 minutes in order to manage program call volume. If a message for your child is left with program staff, they will immediately post the message on your child’s bedroom door. It will be up to your child to respond to the message.
Regular letter writing is encouraged between you and your child. Your child may receive unlimited letters and packages from you. Your child may write and send letters at will. The program will pay for a limited number of outgoing letters per month.
On-Grounds Family Visits
Families may visit their child up to twice per week. Visits on at least a weekly basis are encouraged. The duration for visits will be determined on an individual basis, and the treatment team will take into any special needs the resident may have, as well as the amount of time the parent is traveling.
Program staff must check in all gifts and items brought for your child. All visits must be scheduled with the Case Counselor by at least 4:00pm of the Monday prior to the visit. The location of the visits is at the sole discretion of the program staff, though every attempt will be made to provide privacy and accommodate the family. If visitors arrive without prior approval, program staff will decline the visit as a safety and security measure.
At the beginning and end of your visit, you will be asked to complete a Therapeutic Leave & Visit report to inform the team how the visit went and what goals were worked on during that visit.
As a safety and security measure, visitors may be asked to show proof of identity when visiting.
Off-Grounds Therapeutic Leaves (TLs)
Therapeutic leaves (TLs or home passes) are an important part of your child’s treatment. The duration and frequency of therapeutic leaves will gradually increase (or decrease if needed) over time to encourage a pattern of successful family interactions. TLs usually start as off-grounds visits of no more than 3 hours at a time. The treatment team will extend the passes by a few hours at a time over the following passes, as the child is successful on the previous visits. TLs will increase over time to weekly overnight passes. As your child nears time of discharge, TLs are increased to longer passes.
Special arrangements can be made for family events. The state supports a maximum of 48 TL days per calendar year while your child is in residential treatment. All TLs must be arranged with the Case Counselor no later than 4:00pm the Monday prior to the TL. Due to the necessity of coordinating medications with pharmacy and obtaining a physician’s order for off grounds visits and therapeutic leaves, only situations deemed to be emergencies will receive exception to the underlined expectation above.
As a safety and security measure, visitors may be asked to show proof of identity prior to TLs.
Access to the Psychiatrist
Parents or guardians may have access to speak directly with their child’s psychiatrist when questions cannot be answered through the case counselor, program therapist or registered nurse (RN). Parents may arrange phone conferences with the psychiatrist through the case counselor. Occasional meetings with the psychiatrist may be arranged through the case counselor.
You will be invited to a medication management treatment team meeting on a monthly basis that will include your child’s psychiatrist, nurse, therapist and case counselor. We encourage you to be involved in these meetings and bring any concerns, feedback or questions that you may have for the psychiatrist. You may participate either by phone or in person.