Youth Villages stories

Intercept family

Jay gets a voice

Jun 4, 2024 | Blog, Intercept

Missing piece to the puzzle

For a long time, Stacy was worried her 12-year-old son, Jay, would be removed from her home. Despite Jay being very social, active among his peer group and good at engaging with other kids his age, he was often physically aggressive at home, struggled with substance use, general delinquency and was destroying items in his home.

Jay struggled daily to regulate his emotions. As Stacy watched his dysregulation progress, she also watched her family deteriorate. Although the family had multiple providers in place to help, Stacy felt none were making progress.

When Stacy and Jay were enrolled in the Youth Villages intensive in-home services program, Intercept, the first thing Jay’s clinical supervisor, Roberto, did was create a safety plan for his aggression. He taught the family the ‘exit and wait’ strategy, which helps families identify their child’s triggers and warning signs before they become dysregulated so caregivers can intervene proactively and empower him to take space to self-regulate. The exit and wait strategy also is family focused so Stacy; his father, Jay Sr.; and his sister all participated in planning and identifying their warning signs, triggers and safe spaces.

As the family learned to employ their safety plan, they recognized although they could now successfully prevent Jay’s escalations, they were struggling to communicate about problems as a family. Family Intervention Specialist Melissa Petit Homme worked with the family on Collaborative Problem Solving, a strategy that focuses on building skills like flexibility, frustration tolerance and problem solving. They made a concentrated effort to discuss their concerns with Jay and provide him a voice when they discussed incidents. They included him in the planning when they felt he needed appropriate consequences. Jay responded incredibly well to this. Feeling like his parents finally gave him the voice he was missing, Jay learned to appropriately speak up and share his concerns in an effective way.

Youth Villages has been the missing piece of the puzzle to our family. They have brought us more happiness in the last month of working with them than I ever could have imagined.
- Stacy

Since participating in the Intercept program, Jay has not had one incidence of physical aggression and the family collectively has a better understanding of everyone’s needs and concerns.

“They gave us the tools we needed to help our son,” Stacy said.

Stacy has been fighting and advocating to get Jay the help and support he needed since he was 5 years old and was relieved when she was offered Youth Villages services. Stacy felt that having someone who would see Jay in his home, in his own environment and on his schedule, was critical to his success.

Jay holding a guitar poster

“Without Youth Villages our lives would be chaotic,” Stacy said. “Youth Villages kept my son in the home.”

When Stacy dreams of Jay’s future, she hopes for him to graduate from high school and become a productive part of society. She wants him to have friends and spread positivity and kindness everywhere he goes. After working with Youth Villages, Stacy finally sees this as a possibility.

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