The mission of the Kids in Care project is to support Bucks County youth and families with behavioral health needs through provision of a mentoring relationship, which promotes recovery and resiliency.
The Kids in Care project originated in late 2007 as an enhancement project of the Bucks County Family Friends program. It was out of a countywide commitment that the need to provide support to children in Residential Treatment Facilities was identified. With this information, Kids in Care began its initial development on the basis that children in residential treatment facilities (RTF) often have little or no natural support in their lives. Because of this, Kids in Care was designed as a way provide natural support to youth in behavioral health residential treatment facilities by matching them with mentors in order to promote their recovery and resiliency.
Research demonstrates that children and adolescents in mental health residential treatment are more successful with shorter lengths of stay, and that a successful discharge often hinges on having one positive relationship with an adult. However, a non-clinical mentor provides a sense of normalcy and friendship separate from the facility. It has been noted by residential treatment facility staff that after a long day of therapy, they do not wish to have any further therapeutic discussions. Rather, the mentees look forward to having someone to simply “hang out” with. The KIC mentors provide this interaction that promotes the development of acceptable social skills, improved self-esteem and increased self-worth.
Goals of Kids in Care:
1.) Reduce the length of stay in a residential treatment facility for youth matched with mentors
2.) Reduce re-admissions to residential treatment facilities by promoting recovery and resiliency for youth matched with mentors
3.) Support mentees in residential treatment facilities through discharge and transition back into the community
What roles do Kids in Care mentors play?
Kids in Care mentors have an ongoing and ever changing role in their relationship with their mentee. In fact, the number and variety of roles a mentor takes on may increase with the longevity of the relationship.
These roles often include:
• Being a positive role model
• Being a friend and companion
• Being an advocate
• Being a motivator
• Being a supporter
Mentors must have 30-hours of core training before they are matched with their mentee. Kids in Care training accesses the experience of outside knowledge and utilizes the expertise of several guest speakers throughout trainings. These guest speakers have included representatives from Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA), children and youth, juvenile probation, and the bucks county drug and alcohol commission.
Core training includes:
· Overview of Kids in Care
· Information on relationship building and confidentiality procedures
· Introductions to community agencies in Bucks County
· Qualities of a successful mentor
· Role of the mentor
· Common concerns
· Communication skills
· Boundaries setting, and more
Program Partners of KIC:
A Residential Treatment Facility or RTF, is an intensive out of home treatment service that provides 24-hour supervision for individuals who cannot be safely maintained in an outpatient or community based setting. RTF’s are self-contained and provide for the individuals educational, social, and behavioral health treatment goals.
Kids in Care is currently partnered with four residential treatment Facilities including:
1.) Warwick House
2.) Valley Youth House
3.) Mathom House
4.) Easton Manor