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Tiffany, family get back on track to success

May 31, 2011

Family Intervention Specialist Casey Wood, left, with Tiffany and her mother, Florence

Tiffany enjoys spending time with her family.

They maintain a few souped-up cars to race, getting together in their spare time to work on the cars and get them ready. On weekends, the work gets put to the test on the drag strip. Tiffany gets a turn behind the wheel. She gets a thrill out of those moments when all the preparation culminates into a fast run.

“I guess I’m an adrenaline junkie,” Tiffany said. “I like going fast. We have fun being together at the track.”

But home was different. Tiffany, 18, and her mother, Florence, agreed on one thing — there was a lot of arguing and fighting.

“Every day was like a wrestling match,” Florence said. “We were fighting, yelling. It wasn’t good.”

“We didn’t get along with each other at all,” Tiffany said.

With Tiffany, the stress of being at home began to take its toll. There was a history of abuse at a very young age. As a result of that and the recent home environment, Tiffany became physically and verbally aggressive with her siblings and mother. She also exhibited self-harming behaviors and suffered anxiety attacks. Tiffany was assigned to Youth Villages Family Intervention Specialist Casey Wood late last year for help.

Right off, Casey saw something different with Tiffany.

“We started off with a really good girl,” Casey said. “But she needed more support – she has goals and is very determined to see them through.”

Casey worked with the family on being supportive of one another’s efforts. She helped them set behavior plans, plan family chores and worked with the family on communication skills.

With Casey’s help, Tiffany worked on coping better with anger and frustration.

“I wasn’t for it at first,” Tiffany said. “I didn’t want someone in my business. But after a while, I recognized what she was telling me to do was working.”

Youth Villages’ Intercept intensive in-home services program provides treatment to troubled children and families in their own homes at times convenient for the families. Intercept family intervention specialists provide services to the family, rather than just to the youth, meeting with families at least three times weekly and remaining on-call around the clock.

Although the process was slow, Tiffany said, she pointed to one incident a few weeks into her therapy when her brother began antagonizing her, and she was able to remove herself from the situation before acting out.

“I realized the actions weren’t worth the consequences,” Tiffany said.

Casey said Tiffany was one of her most interesting young people.

“With Tiffany, home was the place that was the most stressful,” she said. “The family got along and did so much together, but the fun times didn’t continue at home. I think the family had to work through some past issues and learn to support Tiffany’s goals. And Tiffany had to learn how to better communicate and cope with anger and frustration.”

Now, the whole family’s on board, Casey said. Tiffany completed her Youth Villages program in April. The family does quite a bit together, including eating meals, completing household chores and watching movies. The family’s supporting Tiffany’s educational and career goals.

In fact, Tiffany will enter Youth Villages’ transitional living program to support her goals as well.

“I think we’re going to be OK,” Florence said. “We all have space in the home to go to. Casey has sure been a positive influence on my family and myself.”

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