KVC West Virginia is completing its tenth month of phase one of the Safe at Home West Virginia program, which is part of the state’s Title IV-E waiver demonstration project. Additionally, we began implementing phase two of the program in May. In this second phase, we expanded our services to eight more counties and added 13 more staff members to help West Virginia youth and families.
Safe at Home uses the ten Wraparound principles created by the National Wraparound Initiative. These principles help shape the treatment that youth and families receive. This is the ninth blog in the series about the principles. (See the others here.)
PRINCIPLE NUMBER NINE – UNCONDITIONAL
The National Wraparound Initiative describes the principle of being Unconditional as:
- “A wraparound team does not give up on, blame, or reject children, youth, and their families. When faced with challenges or setbacks, the team continues working toward meeting the needs of the youth and family and toward achieving the goals in the wraparound plan until the team reaches agreement that a formal wraparound process is no longer necessary.”
The importance of this principle becomes more apparent the longer that Safe at Home West Virginia continues. This is because many children start out doing well with a foster family or in another placement situation and then become comfortable. This level of comfort begins to equate to safety, and once children are safe, they can often times allow for their history to be known. This history may include things such as past abuse, witnessing violence, or substance abuse. Allowing youth and families to talk about their past is important to healing but can be really difficult for all involved. Youth sometimes struggle to express their feelings due to lack of vocabulary or emotional skill. Because they do not have these tools, their expression may take an outward form such as verbal or physical aggression, excessive eating, or substance use. This can be difficult for families to handle, often times because they take these actions personally. Over time, these actions may make it difficult for the child to say where he or she is, such as with a particular foster family. This can be referred to as a placement disruption.
Why a commitment to unconditional support is crucial – Youth need a place where they can feel safe and can learn the skills they need to process through past trauma. They need team members who understand how trauma can manifest itself and still be willing to support the child. They need activities in which they can make new friends and learn new skills. More importantly, they need supporters who are going to lift them up and not give up on them when things get difficult. This is not an easy task, but youth are worth it. They deserve people in their lives who are willing to give them the chances that they need to be successful.
Are you interested in learning more about how you can support youth who have experienced abuse, neglect, mental or behavioral health challenges, or family challenges? Do you have an unconditional heart and want to help children and families in need? Click here to learn more about KVC West Virginia and how you can make a difference!