According to CYFS website the agency offers "professional counseling
for children, individuals, couples, and families; in-home counseling
for seniors; mental health crisis response for youth; and community
The Family Counseling Program is for both whole families and
individual family members including those in biological families and
foster families. Many families that work with counselors are those
that are considered most 'at risk,' and counselors are working with
the parents to help keep the family intact.
The program also helps intact families who are linked with the
Department of Children and Family Services though the kids have not
been removed from the home. Betty Hayes, Intact Family Case Worker
with the Center says, "The Intact Family Services Program is
designed to provide services to families in need in order to avoid
removing children from the home and typical services that can
include mental Health Counseling, Anger Management, Domestic
Violence Counseling, Relationship Counseling and Substance
Abuse/Recovery Counseling and support services."
Surveys distributed to various agencies help identify the needs. The
Center also gets referrals from several agencies. Clients have to
meet certain requirements for service plans.
Hayes notes that goals are specific to the individual family’s needs
and set in conjunction with the clinical staff. She says, "Typical
goals are to identify stressful situations (mental health/anxiety;
anger issues/domestic violence; substance abuse) and take the
appropriate steps to address the issues. These goals are, by their
very nature, specific to the issues and relationships in each
family. " Hayes said quarterly staffings are held between the
counseling staff and the case workers to determine progress and any
additional identified needs.
Hayes said that many of the families are also offered parenting
classes. Goals for parenting class are generally to identify family
morals, family values and family rules and to make a plan for
appropriate consequences and rewards when rules are followed or
Another service is groups such as the anger management group that
meets over the summer. Right now, this group is for adults, but
could be offered to younger ages at some point.
The Center is also looking into offering a domestic violence class
for guardians of those who have been sexually abused.
Counseling techniques include role playing, play therapy, and
drawing. Each of these techniques helps everyone learn about
possible family issues.
In role playing, a parent may take the role of the child and a child
the role of the parent to help show how the other person views them
In play therapy, children can use dolls, puppets, or other toys to
help express their feelings.
For drawing, children are usually asked to draw their family. Center
for Youth and Family Solutions Communications Director Samantha
Hayen notes that when some children draw a family picture, they
leave out their parents, which helps provide some insight into their
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Attachment based techniques are another type of therapy the Center
provides. These techniques help children who may have trouble with
trusting people and controlling their behavior, often after they
have been abused or neglected. The therapy assists them with these
The counselors can help with behavior management, dealing with temper tantrums,
and anger issues in children. A video is offered for foster parents with angry
Any trauma affects children, but counselors use different approaches for
different children. They'll often look at how the parents and children interact.
The Center's brochure shows that other services offered are "critical
counseling, casework, and support services to assist those whose lives have been
touched by trauma, grief and loss, abuse and neglect, and other significant
family life challenges." Counselors work to provide solutions for each
Terri Clayton, a counselor at the Center, says that some families go to Peoria
or Springfield because their DCFS case was opened in another location. If the
family is not working with DCFS, some families do not know the resources are
available locally. They may also need resources the Center does not offer such
as art or music therapy and autism management.
Last year the Center for Youth and Family Solutions provided help with
approximately 20 families not associated with DCFS and 109 with the program.
This year they've helped 17 families not associated with DCFS and approximately
100 with program.
CYFS serves about 20,000 individuals through the whole agency, which is about
Though many services have been affected by state budget issues, Heyen said the
Center is not at risk of losing funding right now. Of nine main programs offered
through the Center for Youth and Family Solutions, only one service is not in
the new budget.
The agency's goal for this upcoming year is to increase community clients, to
work with the community more, and to provide more services. In rural areas, it
is harder to find services.
The counselors provide access to counseling for those who otherwise might not be
able to afford it and CYFS will also accept medicaid. The Center is open from 9
a.m. to 5 p.m. The offices are located on Lincoln's west side next to Davita
Dialysis on Fifth Street Road just west of the Lincoln Parkway. CYFS can be
reached at 217-732-3771.