Site Visit Essay
Human Services is a broad field for workers who assist individuals with various types of issues or problems; whether the assistance is housing, mental health, vocational, or elderly services. These workers are housed throughout many organizations and agencies that have department in which they cater to specific needs. Some organizations have departments and programs that specialize in behavioral and cognitive–behavioral techniques to further address behavioral issues or problems. The Children’s Village (CV) is a non-profit human service organization and their mission is to work in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities (“The Children’s Village”, 2013.)
The type of families CV caters to are foster care and adoption and therapeutic children. In locating this organization online, I spoke with one on the Masters Social Workers (MSW), Benia E. Thomas who further explained the type of behavioral or cognitive-behavioral therapy they provide for the clients served. The Children’s Village employs group behavioral therapy geared toward behavioral modification to adolescents ages 11-21. The types of behaviors the children display are Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and other conduct disorders.
According to “Understanding ADHD” (2013), “ADHD is one of the most common childhood psychiatric conditions, affecting 9.5% of school-aged children in the United States.” ADHD is a psychiatric disorder as OCD is another disorder affecting children and promoting disruptive behaviors. According to Internal OCD Foundation (2012), “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder of the brain and behavior. OCD causes severe anxiety in those affected. OCD involves both obsessions and compulsions (para. 1.) The techniques CV employs at their organization helps change these potentially self-destructing behaviors such as ADHD and OCD. Behavioral therapy is also called behavioral modification or cognitive behavioral therapy. Medical professionals use this type of therapy to replace bad habits with good ones. The therapy also helps you cope with difficult situations (Healthline, 2013.)
This type of treatment is used on the children who have faced difficult times within the home with their biological parents and assists them with any behaviors stemmed from removal from one home to the next. In cases like these children can become very angry, blame themselves, academically failing, and act out differently for attention. Foster children often face multiple adversities putting them at risk for problems in social, emotional, and behavioral adjustment. Some of the risks are experienced prior to placement into foster or adoptive care, such as drug exposure, maltreatment, and institutional care (Adoption and Foster Placement, 2008.) In discussing the population this program participates in, the effectiveness of the interventions is measured by the team of therapeutic social workers at CV. Therapy techniques and approaches must be effective so the children can live normal lives in the community and when placed in other homes.
The types of interventions used on the clients at CV are used by a number of therapeutic social workers who work hard at achieving long-term goals for the children. For example, if a child displays disruptive behavior in school and is acting in an aggressive manner at his or her home several techniques and interventions are used to eliminate or calm the situation to a minimal. Techniques such as: homework charts, behavior charts, listening, communication, and documentation of the behaviors are implemented by the social worker or therapist to further allow the child to discuss what is bothering him or her (Benia E. Thomas, personal communication, September 27, 2013.)
The most effective technique used by the social workers at CV is the behavioral modification chart. According to Bach, PhD and McCraken, PhD, LCSW (n.d) “Behavioral treatment is concerned with the analysis and change of behaviors. Thorough assessment is an integral part of any behavioral intervention or behavioral assessment.” Examples of behavior modification that can be used to increase positive behaviors are praise and approval, positive reinforcement, awards, and self -monitoring. The technique used in the behavioral therapy seems to work for some of the children, as they display change when they come in for therapy sessions with the social workers. At this current time the CV only uses behavioral therapy as a technique to assist with cognitive behaviors.
Children’s Village is a non-profit organization that has not received the adequate funding to support other programs that would be suitable for the organization at this time, but it is something the organization is interested in later on once funded. Although there are not any plans for other programs, play therapy is used for children (ages 2-10). According to Association For Play Therapy (2013), “Play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems” (para. What is play therapy?.) This type of therapy helps the children act of scenarios with playing and using objects such as dolls and coloring to further explain behaviors.
The other models and techniques used at Children’s Village are Functional Family Therapy/Child Welfare (FCT-CW) and Multisystemic Therapy (MST). FFT-CW is a family-based prevention program that helps families make positive changes to their households and MST is an evidence-based program that helps families manage out of control children (“Preventative Services”, 2013). These two types of models are used in CV to better assist the children and the foster parents who require support from the organization. MST and FCT-CW is form of support that the organization implements to their children and foster parents to ensure safety and structure. In conclusion, the Children’s Village is a foster care and adoption agency that employs behavioral therapy to the children they place in homes. The children are 11-21 and have disorders such as ADHD and OCD among other behavior dysfunctions.
These techniques used assist the children with the various behaviors they display as a result of removal from biological families and placement into homes of strangers. When the children display these cognitive behaviors in school or the community behavioral modification charts are used to keep track of the behaviors and monitor improvement. When improvement is noticed the social workers reward the children with movie tickets or other praises they find effective for each individual child. Each behavior is treated differently and addresses in a manner where different techniques are used as well. Children’s Village would like to expand their cognitive behavioral depart, but because of funding they are limited. This agency has displayed the use of the methods and techniques used to change behaviors
Adoption and Foster Placement. (2008). Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development, 25-31. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/science/article/pii/B9780123708779000025 Association for Play Therapy. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.a4pt.org/ps.index.cfm?ID=1653 Bach, PhD, P., & McCraken, PhD, LCSW, S. G. (n.d). Best Practice Guidelines for Behavioral Interventions. Behavioral Health Recovery Management Project. Healthline. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health/behavioral-therapy Preventative services. (2013). Retrieved from http://childrensvillage.org/nyc-based-programs/preventive-services/ The Children’s Village. (2013). Retrieved from http://childrensvillage.org/about/mission/ Understanding ADHD. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.intuniv.com/attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=adhd&utm_campaign=condition