The Family Connection Program
The Family Connection Program evolved from the first system of care site in TN, the Nashville Connection, as a continuation of a strengths based, family driven program to support children, youth and families struggling to navigate complicated systems and access services.
The Family Connection Program offers weekly in-home family support from a certified Family Support Specialist (FSS.) The FSS provides, weekly face-to face support and advocacy in the home, models how to build collaborative relationships with providers and assists in navigating systems. The FSS also assists in care coordination, connecting families with necessary services and facilitating the development of the Child and Family Team.
In addition to FSS in-home support, the Family Connection Program also offers intensive in-home services provided by a Family Support Specialist (FSS) and a Youth and Family Therapist (YFT.) This service is provided to both youth and parents in order to identify strengths and needs, connect with services, and build necessary skills to maintain the youth in the home/school/ community. The YFT also provides behavioral support to the family and assists the Child and Family Team in decision making and goal development.
Children who are eligible for the Family Connection Program include:
• Children ages of 3 – 18 years of age in selected counties/DCS regions
• Children that are referred by DCS or have eligibility via a MCO operating through TennCare
• Children that have a diagnosed emotional, behavioral, or mental health disorder P or show symptoms of a mental health diagnosis that is diagnosable under the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Ed)
• Children that have impaired functioning at home, school, and community so that he/she requires involvement with multiple (two or more) service agencies, (may also be transitioning to/from a more or less intensive placement.)
• Children with families that are willing to participate in the wraparound process or have a parent/caretaker that is willing participate in the wraparound process to maintain the youth at home, at school, and in the community
The Family Connection Program is designed to be a temporary intervention to increase the opportunity for stabilization of the child’s placement with family and/or to allow reunification with the family if the child is stepping down from a higher level of care. The average length of services target is 4-6 months.
Participation in the Family Connections program is voluntary. Consistent participation and willingness to have at least weekly face-to-face contact with a Family Support Specialist is crucial to successfully completing the Family Connection program. If transportation is identified as a barrier to participation, the FSS/ YFT will help the client identify a list of transportation resources including relatives, neighbors, public transportation, local resources, etc. In order to assist youth/families with accessing/navigating the System of Care it may be necessary for Family Support Specialists to make referrals to service providers outside of TN Voices for Children. Referrals to outside services will be made only when the youth and parent/legal guardian have given their prior written consent.
Successful discharge occurs when a youth/family has completed all goals and a transition plan has been developed. Clients may be discharged for non-compliance/lack of participation if consistent face to face contact with the FSS/YFT cannot be made Families may choose to terminate services at any time, however it is recommended that a Child and Family Team Meeting be held to ensure that service plan goals have been accomplished and a transition plan has been established. Youth/families are eligible for readmission on a case-by-case basis.