Frontline staff and Family Program workers have learned how to build better families, and foster healthier homes.
Caseworkers, unit managers, therapists, and others spent three days learning about the Homebuilders program, the model of Ranch Ehrlo’s Intensive Family Preservation Services and Family Treatment Program.
The Homebuilders model was conceived in 1974 by the Behavioral Sciences Institute, now the Institute for Family Development. The model provides intensive, in-home crisis intervention, counselling and life-skills education for families who have children at imminent risk of placement outside of their home, or to assist families in reunification after having a child in care.
“It’s very important training because we believe that families are doing the best they can with what they know,” said David Gillock, Institute for Family Development trainer/consultant. “We hope that going into a family’s home and teaching them skills will help them do better and make the children safer.”
The Homebuilders model has been taught and applied to the practice of many agencies worldwide including those in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, and Singapore. Homebuilders was first introduced to Ranch Ehrlo Society in 2006, by Family Program director Patti Petrucka.
“It simply works, and it works wonderfully” said Patti.
“The statistics clearly indicate that families do really well if we follow the Homebuilders model and work closely within the parameters of family inclusion and family work,” she continued. “The outcomes have been absolutely remarkable.”
The 24-hour Homebuilders training spanned three days from July 28th until 31st. Staff learned how to engage families, increase safety in the home, how to teach skills to families, and how to implement cognitive and behavioural strategies.
“It’s a lot of practical application of theoretical approaches,” explained David. “We look at evidence-based research, increasing cognitive awareness, changing how we think about things, and implementing behavioural interventions. “
“A lot of times families don’t recognize that they’re teaching their child to do wrong,” he said. “We teach parents the skills they need to be consistent and to follow through with what they say.”
Staff who participated in the Homebuilders training appreciated the learning opportunity and will apply the new skills to their work with families, said Patti.
“The staff absolutely love David and they love the training,” she said Wednesday morning. “They are all saying that yes they can use this, and that yes this is applicable.”
The Homebuilders model is individualized to meet the needs of each family, and can be applied to a variety of crisis situations, said David.
“Every family is different so we look at their culture, their values, and their beliefs. We do some engagement activities, get to know the family, and learn about their values, their goals, and their strengths. We then work with them individually to learn how we can build new skills to help them grow and do better.”
“Homebuilders really is focused on getting to know the family, understanding the family, and partnering with the family,” he concluded. “They are the experts of their situation; we’re merely the professionals there to help them build upon what they know.”