At 12, twins, Kyle and Nick, were very different. Kyle was quick to react—verbally and physically—without much regard for others. While Nick, painfully shy, often let Kyle do all the talking (and reacting) for him. The boys had been placed in Emergency Shelter Care when it was discovered that their parents were unable to provide them with a safe and stable home. In care, both boys displayed the trauma that they experienced through their behaviors--Kyle became more aggressive and Nick withdrew almost completely.
Eventually, the boys were given a new home with their Aunt and Uncle, Bob and Jeannie, two people they knew very little. To help with their transition into this new home, the whole family were referred to FCNI’s Wraparound Program, a program focused on helping children, youth and families overcome obstacles and develop stronger skills in order to become a stronger family unit. In Wraparound, Nick, Kyle, Bob and Jeannie would receive critical support services to help them build trust, learn stronger skills and overcome other issues through therapy, parent partners, in-home support and community connections.
In the beginning, the boys’ team engaged with the family to learn more about them as individuals, coming to understand their needs in order to help them set realistic goals. The Wrap facilitator also helped establish healthy boundaries for team meetings so that everyone felt safe, heard and supported. New to parenting, Bob and Jeannie shared that they wanted to meet the boys’ different needs but felt ill equipped--they needed a lot of parent support and tools. And the boys both needed help learning how to process and express their emotions in more appropriate ways. As a group, they also wanted to build a strong foundation for their new family, which meant they needed to know how to communicate better and engage with one another.
Bob and Jeannie were matched with a Family Partner to help them establish boundaries with the boys, as well as provide them with stable routines, consistent expectations and consequences, and positive rewards and praise. Nick and Kyle were matched with their own Rehabilitation Specialists who focused on their individual skill development, including more age-appropriate social skills. And as a family until, they all participated in family therapy. While reluctantly in the beginning, the boys also were matched with their own therapists. While building a rapport with Kyle and Nick was difficult in the beginning, in time the boys began to open up to their therapists, feeling safe having an adult that they saw as “their own” with whom they could talk to about anything, and get help processing their past hurts and new fears. Their therapy sessions became vital to Kyle and Nick.
Time in care was challenging, yet healing for the family. In the beginning, they required a lot of crisis intervention due to struggles both boys were having, including aggressive and escalated outbursts. But with consistent care from their team and family, the boys slowly emerged from underneath their pain. As they began engaging more, the boys were encouraged to talk freely about what they wanted while in Wraparound. Kyle shared that he didn’t want any more workers in his life—he wanted to be “like the other kids at school,” and Nick said he wanted to feel “better” in his own skin.
Together with the boys and Bob and Jeannie, the team mapped out steps they could help the boys take to achieve their goals. They showed Kyle that by using healthier communication and coping skills, he could learn to manage his triggers, reduce his outbursts, and, ultimately, reduce the hours he spent with workers. And with Kyle, the team focused on self-confidence building activities, engaging him in positive social interactions and working to improve his communications skills, while helping him feel safe and supported in being his own advocate.
Both boys responded in care because their individual needs were seen and met, and their team remained committed to helping them be successful. The boys learned how to respond to things that made them upset in more productive ways, which, in turn, rebuilt their self-worth and care. Bob and Jeannie also grew to appreciate the boys’ different strengths and learned to meet their different needs. Improving the families communication skills, helped them engage with each other in ways that made them all feel valued. While the family is continuing to work together to overcome obstacles, they know that both boys have found their true voices—and are using them to shine.
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