FAST is an innovative, short term approach designed to help families overcome problems which can result in a crisis. The program is designed to help the family identify what is working, what are trigger problems and brainstorm new strategies and ideas that can break the cycle of emotional crisis. In partnership with Ventura County Behavioral Health (VCBH), United Parents utilizes a Parent Partner intervention model. A Parent Partner is a para-professional who has raised a child with a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder and combines their own life experience with ongoing training to help highly stressed families. The Parent Partner understands frustration, being blamed, losing hope and all the challenges that go with raising children with special needs. Parent Partners work closely with the family’s VCBH clinician to support treatment goals with practical applications in the home. These skilled para-professionals also provide additional linkages for services that will address any barriers to the family’s needs. United Parents taps into the hope and resiliency of families and provides support and skill building through their outreach, engaging and proactive planning.
During the most recent quarter 46 new families received services. All ongoing and new families are administered the Healthy Family Parenting Inventory (HFPI) in which the family rates their situation across several domains such as social support, parenting, problem-solving, role satisfaction and parent-child behavior. Quarterly and discharge results of the HFPI indicate improvement in all domains after participating in the FAST program. Demographic information indicates that 70% of FAST families identified as Hispanic and 32% indicated that Spanish was their primary language. This information resulted in the formation of Spanish speaking support groups in Ventura and Santa Clara Valley. Concerted efforts were made by United Parents to respond to the cultural and linguistic needs of families resulting in 67% of staff now able to provide services in parent’s native language.
Services and Supports:
Unique to FAST is that the program is staffed solely with Parent Partners which means they have raised children who have an emotional disorder. Therefore, they are in a unique position to understand what challenges the families they support are facing. Not only does this program offer outreach, community support and in-home services, a new program has been added which offers a 90 Day Intensive Intervention Parent Model to support families in identifying escalating behaviors, utilizing specific behavior interventions and thus diverting the need for out of home placement or hospitalization.
To access mental health services, or for immediate help, please call 24/7 1-866-998-2243.