IWS believes that the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive well-being of children is vital to healthy communities. The vision of our Family Services Division is to provide comprehensive, bilingual therapeutic and behavioral health services that address the needs of children ages 0 to 18 years along with the needs of their families.
Child and Adolescent Counseling Services (CACS)
CACS is a longstanding program that provides bilingual counseling to children starting at three years of age. IWS mental health therapists provide individual, family and group therapy, and case management. Services are delivered in clinic, in schools, and in homes as determined by individual needs and concerns.
Counseling provides skills to help families cope with current life problems but also provides techniques to understand and address future issues. For example, therapists address the family challenges when children manifest signs of anxiety, depression, ADHD, and various degrees of disruptive behavior both at home and at school.
Martina Sancen, LPC is a child therapist at IWS. Each day she teaches stress management and self care techniques that kids can practice at home on their own or with their family members.
Her tips for teaching children how to calm themselves are fun, unique and age appropriate.
For instance, she helps small children practice breathing with bubbles: “blowing bubbles really helps to regulate breathing and it is a comfortable and fun way for kids to learn an important calming technique.”
Another strategy she uses is being person centered. That means focusing on the individual and tailoring her practice to meet the needs of each client based on their interests.
Martina loves to share the story of a 4th grade girl whom she recently helped and who was so successful, her case was discharged early.
“Angie* was very intelligent and received straight A’s in school but she worried a lot. She worried so much that her stress began to affect her ability to interact with peers, at home and in school.
Since she was such an intellectual child, our sessions often involved me presenting her with educational information about how stress affects her health, which she really took to.
Angie practiced the techniques we discussed at home and when I suggested we make a worry box for her to leave all of her troubles in, she loved the idea!
In fact, she was so excited by the idea that she did it on her own at home before the start of our next session.
What’s more, she even educated her parents about her new stress management skills and how her worry box would be a huge help to her.”
Martina’s story is inspiring and rewarding!
Martina finished her story by adding: “That’s what it’s all about; connecting with clients and finding what’s really going to work for her”.
*Name changed for confidentiality.
Child Development Support Services (CDSS)
A Child Development Specialist is present in the Pediatric Clinic to see all newborns for developmental screening, to assist in problems with lactation, and educate parents on child safety including car seats. From ages 3-6, child development specialists assist families dealing with poor verbal communication, behavioral and sensory issues; conduct additional developmental screenings; parent education and support; nutrition education for children with feeding issues; behavioral and discipline interventions, social and emotional support, and language support. Parents are also given information about free or low-cost programs for their children through various resources.
Child Psychiatry diagnoses and treats disorders of thinking, feeling and/or behavior through medication affecting children, adolescents, and their families. The Child Psychiatry department works closely with the therapists in the CACS program, the child development specialists, and clinical providers.