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Kids & Families Together

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services

Mission: Kids and families together has a misson to strengthen relationships and provide safe, supportive help and education that keeps families emotionally connected to one another.

Programs: Early periodic screening, diagnostic and treatment(epsdt). Kids & families together (k&ft) is a provider of children's medi-cal mental health services through ventura county behavioral health. Although we primarily serve children and adolescents in the ventura county child welfare system, we know that the mental health care that these children receive now will be impactful throughout their lives as they become adults and world citizens. All the children we serve have experienced trauma and have other mental health challenges caused by issues such as loss, grief, abuse, neglect, and/or exposure to harmful drugs and substances. Currently there are approximately 1200 children in the ventura county child welfare system. Although, kids & families together provides mental health services to all ages of children within this child welfare population, ventura county behavioral health has designated k&ft as a specialist in mental health services for children ages 0-5. The children who are part of the child welfare system have been removed, temporarily or permanently, from their primary caretakers and put in to the homes of foster parents or relatives. Most often the children in the child welfare population have lived in multiple homes during their time in foster care, which can aggravate the trauma they have experienced. Kids & families together provides mental health services in the home and will follow the child from one placement to another, providing what may be the only constant in these children's lives. We believe that the unique challenges that they experience are developmental and behavioral expressions of their interrupted life experiences. K&ft's clinical approach is to work with both the children and their caregivers to create secure bonds. Models used in clinical interventions may include dyadic developmental psychotherapy, theraplay, individual child attachment narrative, trauma focused art therapy, family therapy, and therapeutic parenting groups. At the end of the series of sessions, one 8-year-old boy wrote a note to his therapist saying "thank you for helping me, like getting better at controlling my anger waves and energy waves. I really, really am thankful that you helped me. I also loved the snacks. I'll miss you! "

support, education and training (set) in-home placement training /kindship in-home placement training(ipt/kipt). In collaboration with ventura college and ventura county children family services, kids & families together provides for the caregivers of some of our most vulnerable children. Foster and kinship caregivers within the child welfare system are the clients in this program. The overall goal is to help families stay emotionally connected to one another and for children to experience placement stability and permanency allowing them to heal from past traumas and develop secure attachment relationships in the present and future. Currently, there are approximately 1200 children in the ventura county child welfare system. These are children who have been removed, temporarily or permanently, from their primary caretakers and put into the homes of resource families (non-relatives or relatives). Resource families understanding the children in their care, is vital to the emotional safety and well-being of the children. Often these children have witnessed or been victims of violence and/or abuse and have experienced loss. In addition, the children have often been exposed to alcohol and/or other harmful substances. All this requires that caregivers have knowledge and specialized training to provide a safe and nurturing home. Understanding and practicing self-care is vital to the caregivers' ability to remain physically and emotionally healthy while working with the challenges presented by these children. Caregivers that have gone through k&ft's programs learn how to be "therapeutic parents," meaning that the caregivers have the understanding and skills important to raising emotionally healthy children and helping children heal. Special emphasis is placed on the importance of maintaining the safe relationships that the children may have had in the past, as research has shown that reducing the number of personal losses from the children's life may reduce their experiences of trauma. Kids & families together uses peer partner and educators (ppe). The program uses experienced foster, kinship, and or adoptive families to offer education-support services to new or existing families that have come together through foster, kinship or adoption. Peer partner and educators help these families transition with support in understanding the child welfare systems of support and community resources. When appropriate, the peer partner & educator can "normalize" the caregiver's experience of working with children in the child welfare system. Within this program, k&ft trains and supervises marriage and family interns and clinical social work interns to address the challenges that these children and caregivers may experience. One of our foster moms reports the she has begun to incorporate attachment principles into how she relates with the children. She gave four examples 1) at bedtimes, at the request of the children, she's taken to wrapping the kids up tightly in their bedding and has found that they are going right to sleep without the usual hour of struggle, 2) when the kids are upset she is seeing how matching their emotions helps much more quickly, 3) she works with them in getting tasks done instead of issuing threats of withholding privileges, and 4) she's using "time-ins" when they are really dysregulated, and they calm right down.

relationship assessment program and theraputic family visitation center: most recently kids & families together has established and provides programs for birth parents that have had children removed through the child welfare system. The "birth parents" are the clients in this program and our reunification programs in partnership with ventura county human services agency. When safe and healthy to do so, reunification is the goal of the child welfare system. In ventura county about 35% of children removed are reunited with their families within one year. Kids & families together has developed the "relationship dance", an intensive 18 session psycho-educational program which includes topics such as attachment, complex or developmental trauma, child development, grief and loss, therapeutic parenting, resilience, and self-care. Parents also learn to recognize and make sense of their own attachment history which impacts how they parent and form relationships as adults. This program is attachment-focused and helps parents strengthen their attachment with their children. This year the program served over 100 families. Prior to children being reunified with their birth parents, there is a period of time when they have an opportunity or are mandated by the courts to have supervised visitations. In collaboration with ventura county human services agency, kids & families together opened the therapeutic visitation center, which offers a comprehensive multi-disciplinary 26 session program. The program includes an assessment of family needs, family support, psycho-educational parent classes, support groups, individual parent sessions as well as parent and child therapeutic visitation. In its first two years of operation, 72 families have completed the therapeutic visitation program. One client stated "it's been great, i've learned about things that i've never even thought about before. I have also learned a lot about myself. "kids & families together has adopted the framework from the 5 protective factors that strengthen families and protect children. These factors are parent resilience, social connections, support in time of need, knowledge of parenting, and child development and social and emotional competence of children. In addition our services include trauma informed parenting and the development of secure attachments.

1. Permanency support services (pssf). 2. Kinship support services program (kssp). 3. Prevention and early intervention (pei). 4. Promoting safe and stable families (pssf). 5. Pre-service training (pst). Most recently kids & families together has established and provides programs for birth parents that have had children removed through the child welfare system. The "birth parents" are the clients and our reunification programs in partnership with ventura county human services agency. When safe and healthy to do so, reunification is the goal of the child welfare system. In ventura county about 35% of children removed are reunited with their families within one year. Kids & families together has developed the "relationship dance", an intensive 18 session psycho-educational program which includes topics such as attachment and trauma, complex or developmental trauma of childhood, disorganized attachment patterns of childhood, parents recognizing their own attachment history, self-care and building the bonds of attachment. This year the program served over 100 families. Prior to children being reunified with their birth parents, there is a period of time when they have an opportunity or are mandated by the courts to have supervised visitations. In collaboration with ventura county human services agency, kids & families together opened the therapeutic visitation center, which offers a comprehensive multi-disciplinary 26 session program. The program includes an assessment of family needs, family support, psycho-educational parent classes, support groups, individual parent mental health as well as parent and child therapy. In its first year of operation, 21 families have completed the therapeutic visitation program. One of clients stated "it's been great, i've learned about things that i've never even thought about before. I have also learned a lot about myself. " kids & families together has adopted the framework from the 5 protective factors that strengthen families and protect children. These factors are parent resilience, social connections, supports in time of need, knowledge of parenting, and child development and social and emotional competence of children. In addition our services include trauma informed parenting and the development of secure attachments.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Cars 4 Causes

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of witnessing David, Faith and their entire team grow this worthwhile venture since 2000. In that time I have seen them bring families together and provide a myriad of meaningful services to foster and adoptive youth in addition to others who fall within our growing definition of "family".

If you are on this site because you are looking to make a meaningful difference and are researching organizations to contribute to, whether it be financial, volunteer or stewardship - I highly recommend Kids and Families Together!