Youth and Family Link
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SERVICES

We believe that a child's life is
comprised of:

1. School
2. Friends
3. Social activities
4. Family
   

Typically, when something isn't going right for kids it is because of problems in these areas. Our view is that some kids need to "do" rather than "talk". Thus, as an alternative to traditional talk therapy, Link helps kids to:

1. Improve school attendance and grades
2. Make new friends

3. Get involved in positive activities
4. Get along at home with the family
 
 
Fast Links
 
Service Flexibility Get Services Education program Mentoring program
After-School program Linking youth to resources Family involvement Length of program
Alumni Program Volunteering Cultural Services  
 

Service Flexibility

The hallmark of the Link program is in the staff's ability to work with youth and families in a variety of settings, hours, activities and situations. Each child and family has unique needs. Thus, it is the program's philosophy and practice that services remain completely flexible.
The program's flexibility has also allowed us to continually revise the program to meet the family needs, rather than forcing them to meet a pre-defined program. We never attempt to force services, rather we adapt services to the needs of the child and family.


Services in the community, not in the office

Link staff works with the youth and families in the home, the community, the school or wherever the youth and family are most comfortable. This allows staff to successfully engage youth and families and help them to connect (or "link") to the services and resources they need. The Link program's success in engaging youth and families is strongly based on its willingness to meet the family in their own environment.


Engagement of youth and families

The primary role of the Link program is to help the youth and family engage services. Professional services and community resources are not always accessible. Therefore, Link helps to ease the transition to services and resources. This may include helping with transportation, attending meetings or assisting access to resources. Although there are some standard services offered by Link, such as school support, the goals and services offered to achieve those goals are as unique as the family. Families and youth may not have utilized services previously because those services offered were not appropriate for them.

Education program

In most cases, the youth in the program have difficulty in school. This may be anything from truancy to poor grades. The Link staff work with youth directly in the school setting. Staff coordinates communication between the school and home as well as helping the child to access additional education services.

Mentoring

Positive role models and leaders are important to all children. High School and Middle School students are trained and supervised to serve as Mentors for Elementary School children in need of positive peer guidance.

After-School group program

Link offers both after-school group programs and individual services, depending on the youth and family's readiness for services. The after-school program provides the means for youth to learn about available community resources and how to improve peer relationships.

Youth who are not appropriate for the after-school group program are provided individual services in the community and may be paired with other youth.


Linking youth to positive community resources and peer groups

The Link program provides information to youth and their families about positive community activities like community activities, parks and recreation programs, the YMCA, intramural sports, school-sponsored activities or any other resources of interest. Staff actively support and direct youth and their families to be involved. Such support includes helping with transportation, attending with them or helping them to secure the necessary funds to be involved.

Personal hygiene is a primary focus for all youth. This is structured and reviewed on an on-going basis. Goal sheets are used in the home so the youth and their parents share responsibility for personal hygiene and household chores.


Family involvement

Every involvement in the Link program relates back to the involvement of family. Service plans are developed with the family and change accordingly. School involvement, homework and tutoring are further tasks where the family is involved. Even with the group program, parents are informed of the youth's successes/issues. Link staff helps the youth to identify better skills. This information is shared with parents so they can practice the same skills in the home.

Length of program

The Link program is typically three to six months with an additional three months, if needed. As the youth's time in the program increases, the amount of services decreases. The most services (i.e., staff time) are spent in the beginning during the engagement period. Following engagement, staff primarily helps the youth and families to link up to resources in the community. This allows the family to develop autonomy while utilizing community resources. With the family's increased involvement, staff phase into more of a monitoring role with the family, thus allowing for family independence.


Alumni Program

Upon completion of identified goals, the youth graduates from the Link program. A graduation activity is planned and the youth receives a framed certificate of completion. All graduates of the Link program become members of the Link Alumni Group.

Every three months, an alumni activity brings together all alumni members. The activity is always something fun so there is good attendance. This activity allows Link graduates to stay in touch with one another, meet new friends and to remind kids that Link is still available if further help is needed.

As a part of the alumni program, Link continues to be available whenever a youth and family may need further assistance. This helps the youth and family so they do not have to re-enter the social service system when things in life get a little rough and they need some added support.

Community Service Projects/Volunteering

Community Service projects and volunteering are standard parts of the Link program. We find that many kids take pride in being able to help others. Projects and volunteer positions include the Humane Society, Head Start, retirement homes, adult foster homes, and community clean up.

This has proven to be a strong program component for most of the youth. It allows the youth to focus less on themselves and see that others are also in need. By giving back to their community, youth feel a closer connection and involvement. This allows youth to more easily access and utilize community resources.


Cultural Services

Consideration of the family's culture is essential in defining Link services for youth and families. Not only ethnically, but also socio-economically, the family's culture defines the services provided through Link. An important aspect of our service is to help the family and youth be successful within the framework of their culture and background.

We assist youth and families to identify and participate in activities or organizations relevant to their culture.
 
907 Douglas, Longview WA 98632 * * * (360) 423-6741 *** TTY 711
 
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