Prevention Programs

Overview

Prevention Programs
Berkshire’s prevention programs are designed to provide intensive, home, school and community-based services to preserve the family unit and to avoid the unnecessary placement of children outside of their homes.

All of the prevention programs at Berkshire are based on the fundamental principles of the Berkshire Model of Prevention and the Berkshire Model of Care and Treatment (BMCT).

The primary consideration for all members of each Berkshire prevention program treatment team is the safety of all family members. Therefore, the end state that the various prevention programs aim to accomplish with participating families is the following:

  1. Families will have learned to handle life stressors that do occur in a productive and safe manner so that children at-risk of out-of-home placement can remain in their homes.
  2. Families and children will have a positive social support network and have knowledge of problem-resolutions that encourage family unity. Families will have increased their family interaction skills, which they will have developed through experiential exercises.
  3. Families will have increased their skills to better parenting and support their children. Families will gain such skills through FSs role modeling positive and effective parenting strategies.
  4. Families will demonstrate the ability to advocate for their own needs and identify the array of community services available to them by concretely being shown how to interact effectively with a variety of community systems, including recreation programs, churches, public assistance agencies, food pantries, etc.

Treatment Philosophy

The model of prevention used in Berkshire’s family preservation and other prevention programs is an integration of ecological models (MST, Henggeler & Borduin-1990, and Homebuilders; Kinney, Haapala, & Booth, 1991) that are based on Systems and Social Learning theories. Thus, the programs address the individual youth, the family, the school, the community, and any other system in which the youth is imbedded. Additionally, services are delivered in accordance with the Berkshire Model of Care and Treatment (BMCT). BMCT provides a framework for working with families that focus on the unique strengths and resiliency areas of each child and family and approaches needs from a healing, teaching, support, non-judgmental and relapse prevention perspective.

All of the programs provide services and interventions that are individualized, family and community based, culturally competent, strength-based, empowering, flexible, effective, multi-systemic, supportive, and designed to increase family cohesion and promote competence across multiple systems.

The programs respect and honor the courage and inherent strengths of the youth, families and communities they serve. The programs also appreciate and affirm all aspects of diversity, including but not limited to religion, sexual orientation, race, culture, ethnicity or gender. Additionally, the program serves children of different ages with a variety of presenting problems and their families.

Berkshire’s systemic, ecological and individualized approach allows for the design of strategies that are specific to defined families and all segments of society in which families are embedded. This approach is important in working with all families, and imperative for treatment participation of hard to engage families who are impacted by multiple stressors, the effects of poverty, and the psychosocial problems that ensue as a result. Berkshire’s programs adopt two essential features of ecologically oriented therapies: (1) the understanding of families within their cultures, historical and class backgrounds, and (2) the orientation of the treatment of families to the matrix of their social ecology in which the dynamics of youth, families, communities, and social systems meet. In working with families, Berkshire’s programs (1) are attentive to cultural values and norms of families and the communities in which they live, (2) offer options for interventions beyond offering help to individual youth that include working with the entire family, the natural community support systems, and other institutions, as systems brokers helping families to negotiate those institutions and systems, (3) are pragmatic, and solution and present focused, (4) shift from stigmatizing labels toward the view of maximizing strengths and coping abilities in particular domains.

Within this integrated model, intervention strategies are individualized and flexible based on the needs of each family, are present and solution focused, and address interpersonal (individual) and/or systemic (family, peers, school, community) factors. Treatment can be long or short-term depending on the objectives of particular prevention programs and the needs of families and communities. Interventions can occur in a number of different domains depending on the needs of the family (family, peer, school, community) and draws from a number of treatment strategies that include but are not limited to, cognitive behavioral strategies, crisis intervention strategies, parent training and family skills building (e.g., advocacy, developing and maintaining community support) group counseling and support groups.


Target Populations

All Berkshire Prevention programs operate from its No Reject Policy. Every child and family will be given the opportunity to voluntarily receive services that will enable the youth to remain safely at home.

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