Program Highlight: Family Services of Tulare County, Addressing Childhood Trauma
Family Services of Tulare County is a nonprofit organization founded in 1983 with the mission to help children, adults, and families heal from violence and thrive in healthy relationships. While our program areas are broad, physical and emotional safety are the common threads that tie together everything we do. We build safety in homes, in relationships, and for children through informed and compassionate care that helps people heal from trauma. And when we have safe homes, safe relationships, and safe children, we have a safer community where everyone can thrive.
Addressing Childhood Trauma (ACT) Family Services partners with First 5 Tulare County to provide the Addressing Childhood Trauma (ACT) project. ACT is an intervention and treatment program for young children and their parents who have a history of violence or abuse in the home, or who are experiencing high-conflict separation and divorce.
The project’s overall goal is to prevent or reduce children’s experiences of trauma by:
· Promoting effective, appropriate parenting skills
· Increasing parents’ ability to maintain homes free from violence and abuse
· Reducing emotional trauma to children
Research shows that external and intervention and treatment can greatly reduce or eliminate negative outcomes and stress for children living in situations where co-parents are engaged in ongoing emotionally and physically violent conflict.
Through the ACT project, parents of children ages 0-5 receive one or more specific direct services:
1. Co-Parent Education Classes: These weekly classes are for divorcing or separating parents who are court-ordered or who voluntarily choose to attend. In the classes, which are facilitated by a trained Family Services Therapist, parents learn how to make positive changes that shield their young children from damaging parental conflict and establish a healthier long-term relationship with the child’s other parent. Classes are free to parents with children ages 0-5 and are available in both English and Spanish.
2. Supervised Visitation: At our “Chat House” Supervised Visitation Centers in Visalia & Porterville, children can visit with their non-custodial parent or transfer from one custodial parent to another in a safe, conflict-free environment. Supervised Visitation is contact between a non-custodial party and one or more children in the presence of a neutral third person. Neutrality in the context of the Supervised Visitation Program means that Family Services’ staff members are not advocates for either parent, but are present to ensure a setting that is supportive of children’s safety. Supervised visits allow a child to have safe contact with a non-custodial parent without having to be put in the middle of the parents’ conflicts or be vulnerable to a parent’s other problems.
3. Facilitated Supervised Visitation: Facilitated Supervised Visitation is a specialized service which is available to parents visiting with children ages 0-5. Some parents of young children who have been referred to supervised visitation have minimal practical parenting experience or skills. They often lack experience holding or soothing infants and toddlers, effectively communicating or playing with young children, and display limited understanding of developmental stages and age appropriate behaviors. While traditional supervised visitation services provide a neutral, objective and third-party account of interactions, facilitated visitation is a hands-on approach that helps parents actively increase their parenting skills and develop stronger family relationships. Visit Supervisors provide directed activities, parent education, coaching and feedback to help make the visit successful and assist families in moving toward unsupervised visitation.
By promoting healthy attachments between children and their parents and promoting cooperative parenting and parental involvement of co-parents, this project improves the conditions necessary for children to adjust to and live with parent separation/divorce without suffering long range negative health and mental health consequences.
Visit Family Services’ website, www.fstc.net, to learn more about the issues facing families in our community and the programs and services we provide.
Donate to Family Services
Your donation can change a life. It takes all of us to build a safe, healthy community where everyone can thrive. Here’s how you can give:
· Make a secure, online donation at www.fstc.net
· Mail your check to Family Services, 815 W. Oak St., Visalia, CA 93291
· Contact our development department at 559-732-1970
Volunteers are the lifeblood of Family Services’ programs. Please join us! To learn more about volunteering and see a list of current volunteer and training opportunities, please visit our website at www.fstc.net or call our Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at 559-732- 7371.
Connect with Us 815 W. Oak | Visalia, CA 93291 For programs, contact: (559) 732-1970 For administration and donations, contact: 559-732-1970