The Youth Villages Maine team
Intercept brings help and hope to families in Maine
Youth Villages has offered services in Massachusetts since 2007 and in 2010, expanded into New Hampshire. I’ve worked for Youth Villages for six years and, in that time, I’ve held multiple roles. I started as a family intervention specialist and transitioned to a regional supervisor. In 2023, I was presented with a brand-new opportunity — bringing Youth Villages to another New England state, this time, in Maine.
When I learned Youth Villages would expand into Maine and offer our services to a new population of children and families, I was so excited to be part of it. It was such a unique opportunity. When I admitted the first family to our Intercept program, I called to schedule the admission. The mom, desperate for services, asked if I could come out that day or the next morning. I quickly saw that families were hungry for these services. Many families would burst into tears when I would call and tell them what we offer and how we could help. They were used to being on waiting lists that were years long and were overcome with relief when we would call and admit them into the program within 24 hours.
I would show up to admissions with a laptop, door and window alarms and lock boxes in hand, and many families greeted me with tear-filled eyes just because we showed up. Admissions were long, and families had a lot of information to share. What was so amazing was that every family was as dedicated to making changes in their home as we were. Every parent wanted to keep their child at home and prevent an out-of-home placement.
In July, I admitted a family whose son was physically aggressive at least 15 times per day. We worked extensively with him on emotional regulation, safety planning and how to live successfully at home. When we discharged months later, his physical aggression episodes decreased by more than 98%. His mother was so thankful for our services and said she never thought progress like this was possible for her son until we came into their home.
My team and I are thankful that families in Maine are interested in what Youth Villages is, and they give us the space to explain how our model works to impact them in a positive light. There have certainly been challenges along the way, but having an amazing team that is dedicated to the work has made this process feel seamless. Families have said many times that if we were not working with them, their child would be in the emergency department over and over again or removed from the home, but with our intensity and treatment model, they have been able to stay home. There have been many times we responded to an escalation and have been able to adjust the safety plans in real time to meet the family’s needs. The families have been so thankful for the interventions, safety plans and resources that help them live successfully in their home.
As a regional supervisor, watching brand-new staff give this expansion their all has been nothing short of amazing. Since day one, the Maine staff has been so dedicated to adjusting to the job quickly and being ready to jump right in. It has been an amazing experience to introduce Youth Villages to a new state and watch our state partners become hopeful that these families can and will be successful with our support.
A caseworker told me she had been working with a particular family for five years, and the child had never been able to stay successfully in the home for more than two weeks without needing to be hospitalized for their mental health. She shared that working with Youth Villages was the first time she’s worked with a program that communicated effectively, accurately and does what they say they are going to do. For the first time, she saw the parents buy in to make change. This child has been home and hasn’t had any hospitalizations in four months.
This is why I do what I do. To parents, these situations can seem daunting and hopeless, and oftentimes they feel alone. It means so much to me to be able to bring hope to these families. I am proud of everyone involved in bringing the Youth Villages Intercept program to Maine, and the impact we’ve had in the state in these few short months. I can’t wait to see how far these children and families will go!
This post was written by:
Meghan Hull, regional supervisor, Youth Villages Maine