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Children & Families First to expand family and youth counseling services

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Children & Families First is expanding the scope and volume of its community-based therapy for Delaware’s  families thanks to a $267,800 grant from Highmark Delaware.

CFF delivers human services to individuals and families, including children and/or parents with biologically-based mental health disorders, to crime, substance abuse, domestic violence, truancy, conduct disorders and more, according to CFF officials.

“Our families benefit tremendously when we are able to align proven practices with their unique situations,” said Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Julius Mullen, who oversees all CCF clinical programs. “We feel responsible and honored to provide high quality support for families based on the best available science.”

The “Blueprints for the Community” grant from Highmark Delaware will enable CFF to:

·        Hire two additional full-time therapists to work with families throughout Delaware using the Functional Family Therapy model. FFT is a highly structured 12 – 30 week program that engages all family members to facilitate attainable change. Nationally-recognized as a model program by the U.S. Surgeon General, Federal Office of Juvenile Justice, and Blueprints for Violence Prevention, FFT was developed to help youth with criminal and conduct challenges improve behavior and avoid Juvenile Justice. Today, it’s also used for families with children who have mental health diagnoses and for families with a history of abuse and neglect, at risk of losing their children to foster care.

·        Certify Intensive Outpatient (IOP) treatment counselors in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a well-established therapy that helps clients replace unhelpful thoughts and behaviors with productive ones. Originally developed to treat depression, it’s also an effective therapy for managing mood, anxiety, personality, addiction, dependence and psychotic disorders. CCF’s IOP counselors are already trained in trauma-informed CBT, and are excited about additional training that will equip them to use traditional CBT with clients for whom it is a better fit.

·        Train CFF staff in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is one of a very few therapy models to demonstrate success with individuals who suffer from severe, complex emotion dysregulation disorders that significantly impair life functioning. The stress on families that have a child with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, chronic suicidality and self-harm can be overwhelming and often contributes to family conflict. DBT is a highly-structured year-long therapy that includes weekly individual therapy, small group skills training, regular telephone consultation, and structured behind-the-scenes support for the therapists.

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