Crisis Parent Aide Program

The Exchange Club Crisis Parent Aide Program provides a wide variety of comprehensive services in Creole, English and Spanish. These services include:

Assessment Services - Upon referral, the social work staff immediately begins a multi-dimensional Initial Needs Assessment, which includes contacting the referral source, meeting with the family in their home to see the children, and interviewing family members to understand the family history. Based on this information, a short-term treatment plan is developed with the family, which is reviewed monthly.

Weekly Home Visits – The social workers visit their assigned families weekly and spend an average of two- six hours per week with them. They may spend more time with the family if there is a crisis situation, service include:

  1. Emergency Services such as arranging for basic needs like food, clothing, shelter; housing, medical and dental care is arranged, along with transportation when needed.
  2. Skill Enhancement Services, including communication skills, anger management, positive parenting, budgeting, domestic violence education, and child development education.
  3. Personal Growth Services help families to assess the positive and negative influences in their lives, and assist them to find professional support, sobriety and wellness alternatives, while building self-worth and recognizing achievements and progress also before termination the family is reconnected to their faith and church of origin.
  4. Substance Abuse Services - Specially-trained Crisis Parent Aides provide a more intensive relationship with their families and work closely with LMG Substance Abuse Facilities and the Families in Recovery Program to develop a more collaborative effort to help parents achieve sobriety. As we're all aware, substance abuse dramatically heightens the level of risk to children for abuse and neglect.

The target population for the Crisis Parent Aide Program of the Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center is any family who meets all or any of the following criteria:

  1. Any family at imminent risk of abuse or neglect or in crisis.
  2. Have been reported to DCF for child abuse or neglect, or have been identified as a family at risk of child abuse or neglect,
  3. Have a history of substance abuse, exacerbating the abuse or neglect of minor children.
  4. Have teenage parents, or parents in need of parenting education and child abuse prevention help,
  5. Have preschool-aged children,
  6. Experience domestic violence issues that threaten a child’s safety,
  7. Have children that are being returned to the home after out-of-home placement,
  8. Have had sexual abuse identified as an issue,
  9. Have child abuse issues related to cultural isolation, immigrant status or language barriers,
  10. Have child abuse or neglect issues related to physical illness, mental illness or retardation,
  11. Live in the communities of Stamford, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan and Bridgeport.

Child abuse and neglect has no economic, geographic or ethnic boundaries. Without intervention and treatment, the scars of child abuse and neglect last a lifetime. It does not discriminate between affluent and low-income communities. It often does not appear as scrapes or bruises, but takes many other forms:

  • Emotional abuse - Failure to provide a loving environment in which children can thrive, learn and develop. This type of abuse manifests itself in threatening, rejection, scapegoating, name-calling or simply ignoring the child.
  • Neglect - Lack of medical care, proper nourishment, safe housing, proper clothing, transportation to school or school activities. These children are also frequently unsupervised or abandoned entirely.
  • Physical Abuse - A child is considered physically abused when he or she: 1) requires medical attention because of an injury inflicted by a caregiver; 2) exhibits severe bruising, meaning old and new bruises in combination, or bruises on several areas of the face; 3) is struck with a closed fist or an instrument, kicked, intentionally burned, shaken or thrown.
  • Sexual Abuse - This includes any form of sexual activity imposed upon a child by a person in a position of power, authority and/or influence over the child. The behavior may be coercive or non-coercive, and may range from voyeurism and exposure to fondling and intercourse. Some of these children have, or have been, exposed to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Each family in our programs are provided with four to six months of intensive, in-home services, in which Parent Aides and Parent Enrichment workers model and teach appropriate behavior, assist with stress and anger management, make referrals to substance abuse treatment programs and develop a positive, nurturing relationship between parent and child.

Goals and Objectives
The Crisis Parent Aide program’s goals are to:

  1. Stabilize the current crisis in the family
  2. Help disadvantaged families living in extreme poverty, attain lives basic needs i.e. food clothing, housing and medical attention.
  3. Stop the cycle of violence, abuse or neglect.
Objectives to obtain goals are:
  1. The Crisis parent Aide will meet with the family in crisis 2-6 hours or more, for 4 to 6 months, in order to stabilize the crisis and case management the family into appropriate community services.
  2. The Crisis parent aide will network and assist the family in the attainment of wood, clothing, housing, shelter, educational facilities and medical appointments.
  3. The Crisis parent aide will motivate the disadvantaged children and their families to improve communications skills and replace violence/abusive tendencies with nurturing and care by using the strength based model of intervention which is considered a National “best practice” logic model which shows high evidence of family relational/behavioral improvement. Stopping the cycle of abuse.

Outcomes and results:
The anticipated results of the proposed program are:

  • 80-100% of parents will actively participate in domestic violence services, and violent parent tendencies will be replaced with nurturing parent practices
  • 80-100% of parents will engage in practicing appropriate alternatives to corporal punishment
  • 80-100% of parents will show a significant increase regarding appropriate expectations they have towards the capability of their children.
  • 80% of children with behavior problems will demonstrate improved behavior at home, school and in the community.
  • 80% of children with communication impairments will improve communication skills
  • In 80-100% of families served, parent/child relationships will improve overall, families will become actively involved in the community and faith base churches, and quality of life will be maximized for everyone involved.

The criteria for the success of the program are 80-100% of the families participating in the program will reach their goals and successfully graduate the program. To measure each family’s progress toward their goals, data will be gathered weekly as social workers conduct home visits to witness interactions firsthand. Contact sheets, individual treatment plans, initial needs assessments and goal attainment assessments are created upon opening new cases. Supervisors keep documentation on the progress of cases and send monthly statistics to the State of Connecticut and the National Exchange Club Foundation for the Prevention of Child Abuse. Individual cases are discussed and information is shared during bi-weekly supervisory meetings and in those with Dr. Adamakos PHD. Training for staff, interns, board members and volunteers is on-going.

Participants in the program will complete pre and post-program tests that measure the degree to which respondents agree or disagree with parenting behaviors and attitudes known to contribute to child abuse and neglect. The tool traditionally used is the AAPI (Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory). Additionally, we track individual cases through on going assessments of treatment plans, goals and case closing satisfaction questionnaires.

This information will also be presented to the National Exchange Club. For the past five years, our Center has been recognized by the National Exchange Club for having the one of the highest success rates in the nation amongst our peers for cases being closed successfully.

The need for our services is well documented. All families that are referred to us are suffering from domestic violence, child abuse and neglect or are at significant risk. We currently receive referrals from community social service agencies, schools, hospitals, courts, probation and youth services, churches, day cares and the Department of Children and Families as well as the Department of Social Services.

For more information about the Crisis Parent Aide model visit the National Exchange Club Foundation’s website at http://preventchildabuse.com