Family Connections 15-18© is a research-based program designed to assist at risk families with youth ages 15-18. The Family Connections program was initially designed for court-ordered families, but with minor adjustments, it is well-suited for selected high school youth and their parents or guardians. In the school setting, the program can be used as a primary intervention, before a youth is expelled or just after returning to the school setting following expulsion.
Family Connections is designed to benefit families whose teens may be:
The authors of this program are Mary Ruth Branstetter, M.S.W., a Youth First School Social Worker and Strengthening Families Program 10-14 author Dr. Virginia Molgaard. Through this program, the “big” problem (the issue which could lead to or led to expulsion or legal system involvement) is immediately discussed and alternative coping skills are introduced. Parents are exposed to various coping skills and alternative ways of dealing with consequences. The program assists the family in identifying and carrying out the appropriate consequence if the youth’s detrimental behaviors reoccur or continue.
The Family Connections curriculum combines the following components:
Youth complete the following weekly session topics facilitated by trained personnel, ideally social workers or officers of the court:
The parents/guardians complete the following weekly session topics facilitated by trained personnel, ideally social workers or officers of the court:
During the family sessions youth and parents/guardians will complete the following correlated session topics, facilitated by trained personnel, ideally social workers or officers of the court:
The Family Connections program uses research-based strategies, some of which were borrowed with permission from the Strengthening Families 10-14, but further research will be needed to determine actual outcomes. Youth First is in the preliminary stages of researching the program's effectiveness. The pilot programs are implemented in collaboration with the Vanderburgh County Juvenile Court system and at local high schools.
Youth First will work with its collaborating partners to secure funding for Family Connections and to insure the highest quality coordination and implementation. Youth First provides:
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