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Barrington Youth & Family Services is committed to providing a comprehensive array of outreach, prevention and counseling services that support the social, psychological and emotional well-being of young people and their families residing within the boundaries of Barrington Community Unit School District 220.
The purpose of Barrington Youth & Family Services is to meet the social, psychological and emotional needs of Barrington area youth and their families by providing a comprehensive array of counseling, prevention and outreach programs. BYFS believes that by building healthier, more stable families, we build healthier communities.
Barrington Youth and Family Services offers a variety of programs under its counseling, outreach and prevention categories:
Provides clinical counseling for children and adults. Counseling may occur individually or in a group setting where the group involves a number of family members. Clients are referred to BYFS through schools, churches, police stations, hospitals, mental health centers and psychiatric practices. Additionally, some persons and families are self-referred in response to a critical event. Historically, "at-risk" clients (considered in danger due to domestic abuse, incest, drugs and alcohol problems or in need of assistance due to grief, divorce, etc.) account for 60% of the agency’s caseload. A Spanish-speaking counselor is also available to address the specific challenges facing Hispanic families.
Promotes social and academic skills development through a combination of therapeutic and recreational skill-building activities. Through its prevention programs, BYFS is able to quickly respond to concerns identified by community leaders that affect area youth and their families, as well as continually adapt to meet issues arising in the community (including issues related to the growing low-income population). Programs primarily target middle school children, as they are at a pivotal age where prevention offers essential guidance toward the development of socially acceptable and productive behavior. Currently, BYFS is the only agency authorized to work within the Barrington schools to provide students with this type of programming. All Youth Outreach Programs are offered at no cost to the participant.
BYFS Youth Outreach Programs include:
- Sports Connection Summer Soccer and Folkloric Dance Program (sports and fine arts instruction paired with social-emotional learning)
- Pathways Mentoring Program (social and self-management skills development, at-risk participants paired with high-achieving BHS mentors)
- Peer Leadership Group (leadership skills development, primarily focused on bullying topic)
Offers therapeutically educational programs, designed to inform participants of socially acceptable, appropriate and productive behavior across a wide range of individual, family and social issues. The activities, facilitated by BYFS staff, are conducted in a peer group setting to identify and address both common and individual issues and concerns. Programs are designed to increase participant awareness and provide new knowledge that can lead to positive change. Activities address the needs of specific audiences and are presented in age, skill level and culturally sensitive formats.
Prevention programs cover a broad range of topics, including grief/loss, anger management, domestic relations, acculturative stress, effective parenting, divorce, blended families, early childhood development and peer mediation. Additionally, in conjunction with the Childrens Home and Aid Society, BYFS leads a Latino parent support group conducted in Spanish which includes a component on child social skill development. The agency also offers a Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP) for juveniles arrested for drug or alcohol infractions, where individuals are referred to BYFS by the courts and participation is mandatory. Frequently, participants continue in counseling beyond court requirements to address substance abuse and other personal issues. A majority of prevention groups are offered at no cost to the participant.
All BYFS programs have been designed to support the building of healthier families, which provides the foundation for a healthier community.
- Annette Nikolich
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