“To the world, you may just be somebody. But to somebody, you may just might be the world” ~Anonymous
The mission of the Kids in Care project is to support Bucks county youth and families with behavioral health needs through provision of a mentoring relationship, which promotes recovery and resiliency.
The Kids in Care project originated in late 2007 as an enhancement project of the Bucks County Family Friends program. It was out of a countywide commitment that the need to provide support to children in Residential Treatment Facilities was discovered. With this recognition, Kids in Care began its initial development on the basis that children in residential treatment facilities (RTF) often have little or no natural support in their lives. Because of this, Kids in Care was designed as a way provide natural support to youth in behavioral health residential treatment facilities by matching them with mentors in order to promote their recovery and resiliency.
Goals of Kids in Care:
- Reduce the length of stay in a residential treatment facility for youth matched with mentors
- Reduce re-admissions to residential treatment facilities by promoting recovery and resiliency for youth matched with mentors
- Support mentees in residential treatment facilities through discharge and transition back into the community
Research demonstrates that children and adolescents in mental health residential treatment are more successful with shorter lengths of stay, and that a successful discharge often hinges on having one positive relationship with an adult. However, a non-clinical mentor provides a sense of normalcy and friendship separate from the facility. It has been noted by residential treatment facility staff that after a long day of therapy, they do not wish to have any further therapeutic discussions. Rather, the mentees look forward to having someone to simply “hang out” with. The KIC mentors provide this interaction that promotes the development of normal social skills, improved self-esteem and increased self-worth.
What roles do Kids in Care mentors play?
Kids in Care mentors have an ongoing and ever changing role in their relationship with their mentee. In fact, the number and variety of roles a mentor takes on may increase with the longevity of the relationship.
Kids in Care Mentor roles include:
Benefits of becoming a mentor:
- Being a positive role model
- Being a friend and companion
- Being an advocate
- Being a motivator
- Being a supporter
Adult mentors often report that their mentoring experiences improved their lives in tangible ways. Not only do they note feeling better about themselves for playing a positive role in a child’s life, they also find that mentoring allows them the opportunity to learn more about themselves. Mentoring increases their sense of responsibility and accomplishment, and lays the foundation for better morale at work and better relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. In fact, in a national survey of adults who mentored young people, 83 percent said they learned or gained something personally from their mentoring experience. They reported feeling that they had become a better person, developed more patience, developed new friendships, felt more effective and acquired new skills.
Benefits to the Mentee:
A natural and supportive relationship to a youth in need is likely to promote their future successes. With the support of a mentor, the mentee is given the opportunity to realize for the first time in their lives that he or she…
- Has potential
- Is confident and self assured
- Can find value in education and learning
- Is a capable young person
Process for becoming a Kids in Care Mentor:
- Kids in Care application
- Interview process
- At this time it is asked that the hopeful mentor will bring a social security card and drivers license for duplication for KIC records
- Background checks
- FBI criminal background check
- Driving records check
- Child abuse clearance
- Submit a current physician’s statement and provide evidence of tuberculosis examination within the 30 days prior to being matched with a mentee
- Complete 30-hours of core training
Mentors must have 30-hours of core training before they are matched with their mentee.
Core training includes:
- Overview of Kids in Care
- Information on relationship building and confidentiality procedures
- Introductions to community agencies in Bucks County
- Qualities of a successful mentor
- Role of the mentor,
- Common concerns
- Communication skills
- Boundaries, etc .
Kids in Care training takes advantage of outside knowledge and has had the expertise of several guest speakers throughout past trainings. These guest speakers have included representatives from Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA), children and youth, juvenile probation, and the bucks county drug and alcohol commission.
Program Partners of KIC:
A Residential Treatment Facility or RTF, is an intensive out of home treatment service that provides 24-hour supervision for individuals who cannot be safely maintained in an outpatient or community based setting. RTF’s are self-contained and provide for the individuals educational, social, and behavioral health treatment goals.
Kids in Care is partnered with four residential treatment Facilities including:
1.) Warwick House
2.) Valley Youth House
3.) Mathom House
4.) Easton Manor
Are you a mentor?
A mentor is a caring, adult friend who devotes time to a young person. Although mentors can fill any number of different roles, all mentors have the same goal in common: to help young people achieve their potential and discover their strengths.
Through a one-to-one mentor relationship, you can help a young person gain self-confidence, set goals, and reach his or her potential. The knowledge, skills and experiences you have acquired over a lifetime can be invaluable to a youth who is just beginning the journey.
If becoming a Kids in Care mentor is something that you are interested in pursuing please fill out the application to begin the process.
When your application is complete please send it to KIC@bucksiu.org
Kids in care mentor training dates:
Check back soon!
For information, questions or concerns please contact:
Kelsey Richards, Kids in Care Assistant Coordinator
Bucks County Schools Intermediate Unit #22
705 N. Shady Retreat Road
Doylestown, PA 18901