Hillcrest has a long history of supporting families throughout their children’s stays at our treatment centers. In recent years, we have endeavored to utilize the principles of a national initiative known as “Building Bridges” (www.buildingbridges4youth.org) to make youth guided, family driven services an even larger focus of our treatment.
Utilizing the Building Bridges principles, we have added “Family Specialists” who work directly with families, providing in-home and campus based skill coaching and advocacy services to support family reunification. We provide travel support to families via bus and train tickets, hotel rooms and gas cards. We also host monthly “Family Strong” events at the campuses. These events include: (1) parent advisory meetings in which families give us feedback and suggestions about our policies and interventions; (2) fun, family events that strengthen family connections and build positive memories; and (3) peer-based support for families experiencing similar life experiences.
These practices have also aided us as we have taken on a new treatment contract for Massachusetts youth this past year. This contract, known as “Caring Together” focuses on providing comprehensive services for youth and families in their local community with one treatment team that follows them through all levels of care. One particularly exciting part of this program is the ability to provide after care services. As local youth return home, we will continue to provide clinical services and family support through our Hillcrest Community Support Services office in Pittsfield, MA. Families can utilize familiar campus staff for consultation and youth support in moments of difficulty by simply picking up the phone to call. We look forward to new opportunities to support our local community through the Caring Together services.