Community based family services are provided by our team of therapists through state agency and hospital referrals.
Counsel NOLA’s Homebuilders® Intensive Home-based Services (IHBS) program accept families referred by state agencies, in which one or more children are in imminent danger of being placed in foster, group, or institutional care. Counsel NOLA’s IHBS program is also used for families whose children are being returned from out-of-home care, and for difficult post-adoption transitions. Our program includes intensive, 24/7 in-home crisis intervention, counseling, and life-skills education for families who have children at imminent risk of out of home placement. Therapists provide individualized in-home services tailored to the strengths, needs, and goals of each family we serve. The intervention focused on teaching the family new skills to improve the family dynamics, to strengthen coping skills, to empower each member and to link to community resources to sustain the changes, and most importantly, to keep children safe.
Our Counsel Nola Metro office serves families living in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes.
Our Counsel Nola Northshore office serves families living in St. Tammany, Washington, Livingston, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes.
IHBS Services are for families with children from birth to 17 years old, who meet the eligibility criteria. Families in which one or more children are in imminent danger of being placed in foster, group, or institutional care (prevention); families who require intensive services when children are being returned from out-of-home care, (reunification); for children at risk of placement disruption in a foster home, relative or adoptive placement that has been stable (stabilization); and when a child is being “stepped-down” from a residential facility to a foster or relative caregiver. The vast majority of referrals are to prevent out of home placement followed by families in need of reunification services. There are very few referrals for stabilization of a foster placement or step-down (approximately 10% for both referral reasons combined over the past 3 years).
Counsel NOLA’s therapists work with high-risk families involved with the child protective services system. The goal of the program is to remove the risk of harm to the child instead of removing the child. The program gives families the chance to learn new behaviors, and helps them make better choices for their children. Child safety is ensured through small caseloads, program intensity, and 24-hour a day service availability.
Counsel NOLA’s IHBS program also works with youth and their families to correct problems that contribute to delinquency, while allowing the youths to remain in the community. Staff help clients find the right school setting, attend classes regularly, adhere to curfews, comply with the court, participate in constructive activities with peers, and learn to manage anger and conflict without getting into trouble. Therapists also help parents learn to deal with the stress of raising a difficult adolescent.
Like child welfare, state children’s mental health providers have been criticized for an over- reliance on out-of-home placement, and the failure to provide community-based crisis intervention services that work for the whole family. The strategic use of IHBS provides crisis intervention and skill building, involves the family in the child’s treatment, and broadens the continuum of care so that children are able to avoid the trauma and stigma of psychiatric hospitalization or residential treatment.
Key Program Elements
- Intervention at the crisis point. Professional therapists reach families when the families are in crisis. Client families are seen within 24 hours of referral.
Treatment in the natural setting. Almost all services take place in the client’s home or the community where the problems are occurring and, ultimately, where they need to be resolved.
- Accessibility and responsiveness. Therapists are on call to their clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Families are given as much time as they need, when they need it. This accessibility also allows close monitoring of potentially dangerous situations.
Intensity. Services are time-limited and concentrated in a period targeted at 4 weeks. The service is designed to resolve the immediate crisis, and teach the skills necessary for the family to remain together. Each family receives an average of 40 to 50 hours of direct service.
- Low caseloads. Therapists carry only 2 to 3 cases at a time. This enables them to be accessible and provide intensive services. Low caseloads also allow therapists the time to work on specific psycho-educational interventions, as well as the basic hard service needs of the family. While therapists see the same total number of families per year as therapists in many traditional programs, the services are concentrated to take advantage of the time when families are experiencing the most pain, and have the most motivation to change.
- Research-based interventions. Therapists utilize a range of research-based interventions, including crisis intervention, motivational interviewing, parent education, skill building, and cognitive/behavioral therapy.
- Flexibility. Services are provided when and where the clients wish. Therapists provide a wide range of services, from helping clients meet the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter, to the most sophisticated therapeutic techniques. Therapists teach families basic skills such as using public transportation systems, budgeting, and where necessary, dealing with the social services system. They also educate families in areas more commonly associated with counseling, such as child development, parenting skills, anger management, other mood management skills, communications, and assertiveness.