Our Standards of Practice
At Charles Hall Youth and Family Services, we make every effort to create a safe and nurturing environment. We know that youth removed from their homes, families and communities understandably are stressed and even hypervigilant. Our staff anticipates and strives to alleviate any potential for risk or harm for our youth through words and actions, as well as our residential setting and environment. We try to help youth and their families recognize those behaviors, relationships, and situations that can be dangerous and result in harm. Safety is our number one priority – both emotional safety and physical safety.
When making decisions about and with youth, our staff considers gender, age, emotional development and unique circumstances. Our goal is to teach and model skills and decision-making that support healthy self-esteem, inner connection with others, and the management of feelings. We encourage youth to try new ways of thinking and acting, learn from mistakes, and explore their feelings and emotions. We guide youth to discover their innate strengths and build on them.
Science points to three principles that can guide us in helping Charles Hall youth and families thrive (Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University). These principles include: supporting responsive relationships, strengthening core life skills, and reducing sources of stress. At Charles Hall, we believe that if we focus on these principles when working with families, we have a better chance of creating connection and building hope. More specifically, we can teach and guide families in:
- How to form responsive relationships
- How to build core life skills, and
- How to name the stressors in their lives and prioritize what is needed to change these stressors and/or their negative impact.
Our child-centered approach focuses on building three capacities in youth:
- Inner connection to others
- Sense of worth
- Feelings management
Our inclusion of families focuses on realizing the importance of:
- Supporting responsive relationships
- Strengthening core life skills
- Reducing sources of stress
Charles Hall Youth and Family Services acknowledges youths’ assets and past successes, even partial attempts. We support discipline rather than punishment. Our goal is to catch adolescents and teenagers doing good things, focusing on what’s “right” about the individual child. With youth and their families, we emphasize solutions and ways to thwart poor choices, celebrating the positive and identifying strengths and capabilities of each youth, as well as their family and potential community support system.
Our programming strives to be relational, knowledge-based, experiential and outcomes-oriented. Our team focuses on identifying and doing more of what we know works with youth and families and results in more positive and promising outcomes. Consistency, predictability, and secure connection are goals for our work, as we endeavor to ensure a greater sense of normalcy for youth placed in our care.
Our specific program models include:
- Risking Connection/Restorative Approach® (evidence-based, trauma-informed)
- ESSENTIAL© (research-based, social-emotional learning and character education)
- Circle of Courage® (five basic psychological needs)
- Six Principles of Partnerships (Appalachian Family Innovations)
- 40 Developmental Assets® (Search Institute)
Without hope, we cannot survive. Throughout history, hope is the common factor among people who survived great challenges. Through child-centered programming and family-inclusive practices, our efforts work to create connection and build hope for youth in foster care and their families.