EC – Early Childhood Program

Established in 1996, the Early Childhood Program, formally Early Intervention Foster Care (EIFC), has served 100’s of kids between the ages of 2-1/2 to 6 years of age.  In 2019, the program name was changed to the Early Childhood (EC) Program to better reflect the services provided to foster, biological, and adoptive families. Children are typically in the program for 9-12 months depending on the needs of the child.  Children who qualify for services from EC Cares and are currently in foster care are considered eligible, but EC Cares eligibility is not required for Early Childhood treatment.

Intensive wrap-around services for children 2.5-6 in foster care with 2 or more placement histories. Services last approximately 9-12 months depending on the needs of the child.

Early Childhood Services consist of:

Foster Parent Support Group (highly recommend participation): Weekly 2 hour foster parent meeting. Foster parent support group supports the foster parents in creating interventions and behavioral systems that are age appropriate and individualized to each child in the program. Interventions and behavioral systems target presenting problems in an effort to reduce problematic behavior and increase pro-social behavior. Support group meetings often focus on parental skill development across multiple domains and discuss such topics as implementing a consistent time out routine, setting limits effectively, adjusting behavioral expectations to match the developmental stage of the child and focusing on the positives. 

Weekly Therapeutic Playgroup: Weekly 2 hour group that focuses on the development of school readiness skills (i.e., early literacy skills, social/emotional skill development and behavior and emotion regulation).  The children in playgroup receive a consistent rate of positive feedback and encouragement from members of the clinical team to help imbed prosocial skills and reduce the amount of negative behavior.  Should negative behavior occur, the program manager is available at all times as the “principal” to provide a consequence (time out, removal from playgroup).

Skills Training and/or Individual Therapy: Skills training occurs on a weekly basis, usually 1 to 2 hours a week. Skills training is provided by highly trained members of our clinical team and tends to focus on the presenting issues of the child (defiance, anxiety, delayed social skills). Weekly skills training sessions to focus on the development of positive social skills, interpersonal relationship skills, compliance, appropriate behavior in the community, safety and stranger awareness and participating in new activities without anxiety. 

Family TherapyFamily therapy services are provided to the child’s biological parents or identified aftercare resource.  We will work with the family to help build positive parenting skills, using an evidenced base curriculum informed by PMTO, and help them set up positive and therapeutic visits with their children while they are in foster care, we will also work with the Bio-family to help prepare them for their child’s return.

Case Management and Support: We are on call 24/7 to our foster families in an effort to avert crisis and maintain placement stabilization. Case management consists of coordination with DHS, EC Cares and other community partners.  We also provide case management, crisis intervention and school support provided as needed.

EC – Outpatient Services

For children 0-6.  Intensive family therapy services aimed to promote positive parenting practices that teach parents the skills necessary to manage their child’s challenging behavior often due to underlying mental health issues.  Families meet with a clinician on a weekly basis for support, guidance and to learn new parenting skills.  School support and case management provided as needed.  These services also provide weekly skills training or individual therapy services to help skills development in children in an individual manner and according to the mental health needs of each child. Treatment lasts approximately 6-9mos depending on the needs of the family and child.

Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

For children ages 2-6. Caregivers and their child meet with a clinician on a weekly basis in the office. Clinician observes parent / child interactions through a two-way mirror and provides in the moment coaching to teach positive parenting skills. Direct coaching provides can help parents work through difficult behavior in the moment and provides the encouragement many families need when learning a new skill.

PCIT has been shown to improve the parent-child relationship, promotes a higher degree of positive interactions increases cooperative and compliant behavior, improves the child’s self-esteem, and has been shown to improve school behavior as well.  PCIT is an excellent intervention for families that are observing defiance, oppositional behavior, verbal and physical aggression or destructive behavior in their child.  PCIT is also helpful in reducing anxiety and perfectionism (low frustration tolerance) in children and can be helpful in decreasing tantrums.  This intervention is time-limited, 6-9 months.

Trama-focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT)

For children 3 years and up. Helpful for children experiencing PTSD symptoms in relation to traumatic events they have experienced. Very structured and short-term intervention typically lasts 8-25 weeks.  TF-CBT has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with PTSD such as avoidance, anxious or depressive symptoms (related to the event), poor attentional focus and emotional distress.  This intervention works with the parent and child and is an “in office” service.  Provides education to the parent regarding the effects of trauma and the impact it may have on children.  Parenting support and skill development are also provided.