Supporting Families, Keeping Children Safe
Wellpoint Care Network has partnered with the Department of Children and Families’ Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services since 2009 to ensure children are safe and families are healthy in Milwaukee County. Families who come into care with the child protective system often have faced multiple adversities, including poverty, discrimination, poor mental health, substance use disorder and violence. Wellpoint partners with families and other community organizations to create a framework for healing that promotes stability and uses a trauma-informed perspective.
Wellpoint provides child welfare case management services to approximately 900 families, including nearly 1,300 children annually. We work diligently to provide services that ensure children are safe, as well as that families are stable and experience well-being.
The majority of children in our care are placed with kinship or foster families while our case managers work with their families to achieve stability by reducing or mitigating the safety factors that brought the family into care. The focus of case management in these instances is to help families achieve safety, stability and reunification. While the majority of children and families are reunified, in cases where it’s not safe to do so, Wellpoint works to find permanent homes for children.
In some cases, families are able to remain unified while accessing intensive in-home safety planning services. The focus of Intensive In-Home Case Management is to keep families safe, together and home.
Family Preservation Program
Wellpoint’s family preservation program aims to promote well-being, strengthen family relationships and keep families together safely. Participation can help families reunify more smoothly or prevent family separations through parent skill development and education. Services include:
- Shared parenting support using the Fostering Relationships model
- Supervised parent/child interactions
- Specialized in-home family interaction sessions
- Trauma Informed Care interventions
- Problem solving and conflict resolution
- Transition planning
- Family advocacy and reunification planning
Additional services may include:
- Mentoring, support and development of parenting and home management skills
- Coaching family interactions/short-term therapeutic visitation supervision before reunification
- Prevention and stabilization of crises
- School advocacy
- Linking families to ongoing community supports
Foster & Kinship Navigation Services
Foster & Kinship Navigation Services is a voluntary program that provides licensed foster parents and relative caregivers of children in court-ordered care with a variety of services to enhance their ability to meet the children’s needs.
The primary goals of the program are to increase placement stability and to help ensure that caregivers, who are an imperative part of the team, feel supported. This clinical service is caregiver-driven and delivered through regular, face-to-face contact in the caregiver’s home.
Program goals include:
- Provide caregivers with individualized parent training, support and coaching with a trauma-sensitive approach
- Engage with caregivers in an empathetic and emotionally-regulated manner
- Guide and supports caregivers’ advocacy for the educational, medical and therapeutic needs of the children in their care
- Enhance caregivers’ ability to navigate programs and systems and become connected to community resources
- Encourage caregivers to increase their communication and interaction with the birth family and understand their caregiver role
- Provide the care team with assistance in the efforts to achieve permanence
The SafeCare® Model is an evidence-based parent-training curriculum for parents of children ages 0-5 who are at risk for or have been reported for child neglect or physical abuse. Wellpoint SafeCare Home Visitors work with families in their homes to improve parents’ skills in three areas:
- Parent-infant/child interaction skills
- Health care skills, and
- Home safety
SafeCare is typically conducted in weekly home visits lasting from 60-90 minutes each. The program typically lasts 18-20 weeks for each family.
Wellpoint’s SafeCare program works with families involved with Wellpoint’s child welfare case management services or Milwaukee Department of Child Protective Services. The focus of the SafeCare program is to keep families safely together in their homes and to prevent foster care services.
The Community Outreach team provides Wellpoint families with community resources that lead to strong, stable lives. Research and experience have proven that when a family has all of its basic needs met, they are better able to thrive as a family, as well as individually.
Community Outreach focus areas include: Caring Connections, Education, Employment, Health and Housing. We call these basic needs the Five Pillars of Stability, and are happy to provide families with useful resources for any one (or all) of the pillars.
Trauma Assessment and Individualized Care
Children who have been abused or neglected are often exposed to events beyond their ability to cope. This creates child traumatic stress resulting in feelings of fear, helplessness and guilt. A child’s traumatic stress can have long-term effects on the child’s well-being, including higher rates of acute and chronic medical problems, developmental delays, educational disorders and behavioral health problems. Wellpoint administers a trauma assessment and creates individualized trauma-informed care plans to help facilitate healing and well-being for children and relative caregivers.
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