When the courts deem it necessary to remove a child from a home due to safety concerns, it is a disruption in that child and parent’s life. Any major disruption can cause negative long-term effects that can lead to physical and mental illness. KVC’s goal is to work with the courts, parents, children and advocates to safely reunite families as quickly as possible. To ensure that children don’t have to be separated from their parents for an extended period of time, a federally-funded program has been designed to reunify and strengthen families throughout Kansas called the Strengthening Families Program. This program aims to provide education and skill building for parents and children in a way that is effective and helps them to safely reunite faster. Already, this program has shown success nationally in reducing childhood trauma caused by the substance use of the parent, and it has boosted reunification of families in instances where traditional services weren’t as effective.
This evidence-based, 16-week program brings children and parents together for a meal and weekly training to focus on improving family communication, parent supervision, healthy child development and substance use.
KVC Kansas selected a small test group of families throughout Kansas to receive this new training offered from the Strengthening Families Program. As a result, the new program has had a much higher success rate of reunifying families and has been able to serve more families than originally planned. Also, children showed significant improvement in their motor skills, problem-solving and social development. The parents showed significant improvement in having empathy, showing patience and a had a reduction of depression and anxiety.
“The Strengthening Families Program is an invaluable program for communities seeking to find ways to support and equip families in need. ”
– Lee Jost, KVC Community Resource Specialist
Being mentally healthy is important for everyone. If you would like to know more about how to support a child’s mental health, consider downloading this FREE guide, “5 Things Every Child Needs for Good Mental Health.” This resource will help you understand how brains are built, identify factors that impact mental and emotional health and will show you how to strengthen a child’s mental health.