From 2009-2010, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) provided services for 33,480 children, of which 16,710 were in foster care.* These children and their families face multiple stressors that can contribute to dysfunctional patterns of interaction and child maladjustment. Biological, foster, and adoptive families may go through multiple transitional periods depending upon the status of the children within the child welfare system; this may include transitions from living with biological family members to living with foster or adoptive families, transitions occurring during family reunification, or family adjustment to the involvement of a social worker. As a result, families may seek the assistance of mental health professionals to ameliorate some of these challenges.
At NISAPI, we believe that all families have the potential for positive growth and change. In order to promote this growth and change, we believe it is necessary to create a non-judgmental, “safe” , and supportive environment where families can discuss often difficult and anxiety-provoking topics. Here, they can discuss and practice positive ways of engaging and create or re-create family bonds. We attempt to bring in all members of the client’s system, including anyone who can provide support to the client or their family; this may include mandated operations (e.g., CPS social workers, probation officers, etc.), as well as specific friends, relatives, or community members (e.g., teachers, employers, etc.). This wrap-around approach promotes sustainable change within the family context.
* See Los Angeles County Annual Report 2009-2010.