Develop and Support Families

Placer County Permanency Support Services, California

This is one of 31 program profiles that appears in Support Matters, Lessons from the Field on Services for Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Care Families (PDF – 2 MB), published March 2015.

Overview

The Placer County Permanency Support Services program offers a wraparound model of support through which adoptive and kinship families can receive therapeutic support, training, peer support, and other services depending on their needs.

Population Served

Families of children and youth adopted from foster care or placed in kinship care in Placer County, CA.

In 2013, the program served the families of 35 children, most of whom were adopted.

Theory of Change

By providing adoption-competent, home-based wraparound services, we can prevent out-of-home placements and increase the chances that children and youth achieve permanency.

Provider

Placer County Permanency Support Services is a collaboration of Sierra Forever Families and Placer County Children’s System of Care as part of a joint recruitment, licensing, and support initiative called Placer Kids. Sierra is a nonprofit agency providing adoption and foster care services in 12 California counties. Placer County Children’s System of Care is an integrated team of county agency staff from the Departments of Children’s Mental Health, Child Welfare, Probation, Alternative Education, Substance Abuse Services, and Public Health.

Role of Public Child Welfare Agency

The Placer County Department of Health and Human Services is a partner in the Placer County Children’s System of Care. The agency also refers families to the program.

Key Service Components

The Placer County Permanency Support Services program offers adoption-competent, mostly in-home wraparound services to families provided by a team of a clinician, a permanency specialist, and a family partner who is typically an experienced adoptive parent. Services include:

  • Individual therapy — Offered for the child or youth and family, therapy can include Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (page 222 of Support Matters (2 MB PDF) ), Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and other psychotherapy. The treatment plan often involves working with the entire family.
  • Information and referral — Staff share information and direct families to relevant community resources, including support groups provided by Placer County that offer training, discussion, and support.
  • School consultation — Staff may help parents write the child’s individualized education program, consult with teachers, and provide in-classroom support to help with communication and develop problem-solving and social skills.
  • Skills training and coaching — Depending on the child’s or youth’s specific needs, the service team may provide skills training and coaching to the child or to the entire family.
  • Crisis services — Staff are on call 24 hours a day, and can go to the family’s home, school, or other settings depending on the nature of the crisis. Clinicians may also help family access immediate psychiatric services.

Outreach Efforts

  • Staff share information about the program through support groups, the adoption helpline, and local schools.
  • Adoptive parents share information with other families about the program.
  • Placer County child welfare and mental health departments refer families to the program.

Staffing

  • 1 full-time therapist
  • 1 full-time permanency specialist
  • 1 part-time parent partner (4 hours per week)
  • 1 part-time clerical staff member (4 hours per week)

Training Requirements     

Staff attend monthly trainings on topics such as attachment, motivational intervention, and trauma. In addition, they can access 24 hours of electronic training on various issues in adoption. The two full-time staff have been through the Training for Adoption Competency curriculum created by the Center for Adoption Support and Education.

Evaluation and Outcomes

Evaluation Design

Children and youth are assessed using the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths instrument, with follow-up assessments at 60 days, six months, and case closure.

Key Findings

For fiscal year 2014:

  • 91 percent of children and youth served showed improvement in the scores on the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment.
  • 93 percent of children and youth served showed improvements on an outcome screening tool.
  • 95 percent of children remained in the family home. Two children were placed in group care for additional services.

Approximate Annual Budget for Services Described

$198,000

Funding

  • The primary funding source is MediCal’s Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) program.
  • Other funds come from individual and organizational donations.

Partnerships Required or Recommended

  • The program is a public/private collaboration between Placer County and Sierra Forever Families.
  • Other partners include Placer Community Foundation, which has supported events, and the Placer County Youth Empowerment Program.

Challenges

  • It was difficult to secure funding for the program in the beginning.
  • It was initially a challenge to connect families with the services.

Background and Future Directions

The Placer Kids program started in 1997, and the director of Placer County was concerned about the number of children and youth being placed in residential treatment. The Permanency Support Services program began in 2012.  

Learn More

Glynis Butler-Stone, program director, Sierra Forever Families: 916-368-5114, ext. 347

Source

Glynis Butler-Stone, interview, July 17, 2013.

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