All abused and neglected children have experienced some level of trauma. That trauma often manifests in harmful behaviors such as aggression, self-harm, and depression. FosterAdopt Connect’s Behavioral Intervention (BI) program provides one-on-one services in the home to children who struggle with emotional and behavioral management, promoting permanency and helping kids develop healthy coping mechanisms.
In-home behavioral health programs like ours are uncommon, offering an invaluable service to children whose behaviors threaten the stability of the placement. Though cultivating positive behavioral changes is a slow process, the BI department facilitated five successful discharges on the Kansas side in December alone, meaning that the kids have improved to the point of no longer needing BI assistance. On the Missouri side, several more families are preparing to complete the program.
When it comes to our mission of serving abused and neglected children, there’s no better example than the BI program.
The Need for BI Services
Behavioral Interventionists teach techniques like implementing coping skills, decreasing anger and dysregulation, and developing trust. These services help re-wire the neuropathways in a child’s brain and break the cycle of living in fight, flight, or freeze mode. The most effective BIs are flexible, committed, and have a good understanding of a trauma-informed approach.
“A 10-year-old may have the maturity of a four- or five-year-old due to trauma,” says Hayley Stoneking, Director of In-Home Behavioral Programs. “Every child has different needs, but on average, it takes up to a year or a year and a half to complete the program. BIs must have the patience to help a child reach their goals.”
With the growing number of children entering the child welfare system, behavioral intervention services are in demand, and not just in Kansas City. Lisa Allen-Clay, Southwest Missouri Behavioral Intervention Programs Manager, sees a strong need for BIs in Springfield as well.
“We have different demographics than Kansas City, so it’s important to have BIs who are familiar with the community here and can bring back feedback and ideas to discuss with the team,” says Allen-Clay.
FosterAdopt Connect’s entire BI department has undergone structural and leadership changes to better support our staff. Increased benefits, including tuition assistance, EAP benefits, a matching 403b plan, PTO accrual, and increased compensation, are now available to part-time BIs. FosterAdopt Connect has also opened several full-time BI roles to develop more career growth opportunities within the department.
Stoneking believes such changes have led to stronger communication between sites, better-streamlined processes, and more collaboration within BI teams and leadership.
“I’m very excited about where our department is headed,” says Stoneking. “The BIs are our main focus. We need to support them in order to support the kids.”
Click here to learn more about our BI openings.