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KVC Nebraska

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How Intensive In-Home Services Help At-Risk Youth & Families

Kathleen Mapes, LMHP, LPC, has been with KVC Health Systems for nearly six years. She began her career with KVC Health Systems in our Kansas office, and for the past two and a half years has served KVC Nebraska as an Intensive In-Home Clinician, working with at-risk youth and families.

Kathleen Mapes helping her nephew with school work.

As an In-Home Clinician, Kathleen partners with a KVC In-Home Specialist and meets with children and families in their home to assess their needs and make treatment goals that are customized to each family. The KVC In-Home Services team then works with the family to address the challenges that resulted in them being referred for these services and helps them make positive changes in their lives. Kathleen’s role in the team is to work with the family to implement therapeutic interventions that help create this change.

Intensive In-Home Services

At-risk youth and families are referred to us for In-Home Services by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Children and Family Services, PromiseShip, and the Office of Juvenile Services when challenges exist that could result in a child being removed from the home. For example, a teenager might be referred for In-Home Services because of substance use, skipping school or failure to follow rules in the home. Often times, an at-risk youth will have a mixture of these types of issues going on at the same time. When these challenges occur, it can be difficult for a family to overcome on their own so KVC is referred to provide professional intensive services with the goal of helping the family stay safely together.

 

Lucy Ajuoga

To refer a family for In-Home Services, please contact our Intensive In-Home Services Clinical Supervisor, Lucy Ajuoga, at lajuoga@kvc.org or (402) 578-5086.

 

Read our interview with Kathleen to learn more about our In-Home Services, how we help families and at-risk youth, and why Kathleen loves her job.

Q: What happens when a family is referred for Intensive In-Home Services?

Our In-Home Services team comes into the family’s home to identify what factors might be contributing to the problems. For example, is the youth skipping school or coming home past curfew because they are using drugs? How do the parents/caregivers respond when the youth breaks rules? Has the youth experienced any trauma that could be resulting in negative behaviors?

Once we have identified the factors involved in causing issues, we create a treatment plan, which might include one-on-one therapy with a youth as well as family therapy sessions. During this time, the In-Home Specialist will also be meeting with the family to provide resources for skill building. If the youth is struggling with substances, they might explore coping skills and positive supports to help them remain sober.

We can also work with the parents to help them establish appropriate consequences for when rules are broken and give them tools for effective implementation. Along with this, the In-Home Services team is constantly collaborating with the referring professionals and other vital partners to the youth and family to help them be successful in making positive changes. Partners we work with through this process might include case managers, probation officers, psychiatrists, individual and/or family therapist and the youth’s school.

Q: Why did you choose to work in this field?

Kathleen: I chose to work in this field because I have a fascination with people and the differences between each of us. I am very interested in the different ways people think and their reasoning in decision making. I find it motivating to think about how I can help people make positive changes in their lives. It is extremely rewarding that people give me the privilege of coming into their lives during difficult times and that they trust me to work with them to make it better.

Q: What has been your proudest working moment as a therapist?

Kathleen: There have been many experiences that have left a lasting impact on my life. One of my proudest moments so far was when I worked with a 12-year-old boy who had been placed in foster care. He had a difficult time adjusting to this change, and at one point, ran away from his foster family’s home. Over time, I had built such trust with him that when he ran away from home, he called me. I immediately hopped in my car to pick him up, while making the appropriate phone calls to his foster family and other professionals who needed to get involved. While we never want any of the children we serve to run from their foster home, I was proud to know that I helped this young boy find trust in an adult.

Q: What’s your advice to families experiencing challenges who are unsure of how to strengthen their family?

Kathleen: Whenever possible, try to work with mental health providers you find a connection with! You are letting these people into the deepest, most vulnerable moments of your life or the life of your child. It is important for you to feel like you have a strong working relationship with them and fully trust them.

Q: What do you like about working at KVC?

Kathleen: Part of what I love about working at KVC is that every day of my job is different. One day I might be out visiting different parts of the city for therapy appointments at clients’ homes, the next I might be at our KVC office for training or a meeting. KVC also strongly emphasizes a sense of community. Our offices are not huge, and our staff isn’t all located in one place, but we’re always trying something fun or finding creative ways to make the most of the stressful work we do!

Kathleen with her collie-mix, Sadie.

Q: What are you passionate about outside of your work?

Kathleen: I love animals so much! Any time I’m at an appointment at a clients’ home, I try to take a little time to play with their pets. My collie-mix Sadie does not often appreciate this though because she doesn’t like the scent of other animals on me! I have been caring for my new nephews, ages 6 and 12, for the last eight months. While this was not the introduction to motherhood I anticipated for myself, it has taught me a great deal about my strengths and many weaknesses. Overall, it has made me a better professional with the families I work with!

 

To refer a family for In-Home Services, please contact our Intensive In-Home Services Clinical Supervisor, Lucy Ajuoga, at lajuoga@kvc.org or (402) 578-5086.

 

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