Family Options IV

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Family Options IV

180 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 855-9000
Website
Download project description [PDF]

Project Director
Linda S. Coon
lcoon@familiesandchildrensnetwork.org

Project Coordinator
Deborah Vazquez

Project Evaluator
James Gleeson
jimglee@uic.edu

Sponsoring Organization
Families’ and Children’s AIDS Network (FCAN)

History & Overview

History & Overview

For over quarter of a century, FCAN has assisted HIV‐affected families and the organizations and individuals that serve them.  Since 1985, FCAN has grown into an organization of over 300 health care providers, social service providers, legal service providers, and consumers. Originally established as a network of Chicago area providers and consumers, a downstate caucus was organized in 1995. FCAN’s mission is to create a coordinated, family‐focused continuum of care for HIV‐affected families. This mission is carried out through direct service programs, education, and advocacy.

Over the years, FCAN has brought together a diverse group of people working with HIV‐affected families who have pooled their expertise in identifying critical gaps in services for these families. New, innovative programs have been conceptualized by FCAN committees, including Red Ribbon Trails, a statewide family retreat program designed specifically for HIV‐affected families, and Family Options, a program of legal and social work services for HIV‐affected families who wish to make future care and custody plans for their children.

 

Service Delivery Model

Service Delivery Model

In Family Options IV (FOIV), FCAN delivers an empirically-based model of comprehensive, accessible interdisciplinary social work and legal services to the families of children who are at risk of being – or have already been – orphaned by HIV/AIDS or placed out of the home. FCAN enhances the existing Family Options programming through the use of a risk‐and‐resilience protective factors framework that implements a trauma‐informed approach to serving families and children affected by HIV/AIDS.

Family Options IV delivers in‐home social work and legal services enhanced with evidence‐based and evidence‐informed assessments and interventions focused on: (1) management of HIV disclosure, (2) resolution of trauma, (3) reduction of HIV/STD risk, and (4) enhancement of protective factors that increase the likelihood of family stability, permanence, safety, and well‐being.

The project objectives are to: 1) promote and maximize family stability by keeping families together while preventing the abandonment of children, and help improve quality of life for 145 families that include children, their parents and caregivers affected by HIV/AIDS; 2) continue to develop outreach, education and permanency services to at least 48 HIV or substance‐affected women in correctional settings who are pregnant or parenting; and 3) continue to provide community, statewide and national leadership by assessing family problems and developing policy and educational responses to critical issues for HIV‐affected families with children. The project will provide annual child welfare policy advocacy assessments, leadership, and education that will result in at least two statutory reforms pertaining to permanency or stability of families and children.

 

Staffing

Staffing

FCAN has been providing direct service to children and families affected by HIV for over 16 years. Credentialed therapists with prior experience working with HIV‐affected families with children conduct the therapeutic activities for FCAN, including in‐home family work. Health and social services professionals who also have experience working with families impacted by HIV/AIDS conduct educational workshops on topics such as HIV disclosure, HIV prevention for teens and adults, negotiating safer sex with partners, medication adherence, and sexual risk reduction.

Family Options has a direct service staff of social workers and attorneys who each have a decade or more of experience serving families with multiple challenges to stability; nurturing active linkages with primary, secondary and tertiary advocates and providers who respond through policy and practice to the dynamic needs of participating families at both the state and community level; offering a replicable service provision plan that includes outreach to demonstrate the utility of the project to professional and peer groups; and attracting a diverse participant pool who formally influence the model through advisory committees and focus group feedback.

 

Community Collaboration

Community Collaboration

FCAN holds Memoranda of Agreement pertaining to the Family Options Project with several other agencies, including: the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center; Chicago Risk Reduction Partnership for Youth; and the University of Chicago Pediatric HIV program, which provides healthcare and prevention services; the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, which subcontracts for legal services; and the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work, which provides Family Option’s evaluation. FCAN is a statewide network of collaborators and consumers and FCAN’s programming often originates through work with FCAN’s parent advisory committee of consumers, all of whom are Family Options participants. Professional collaborators and volunteers statewide assist with programming for children, youth and parents at statewide retreats for families.

To respond to the needs of caregivers of children affected by HIV, FCAN collaborates with the Illinois Task Force on Relatives Raising Children and the state Department on Aging. Collaborations with the corrections community include the Illinois Community Reentry Project, a collaboration of service providers for HIV‐affected individuals reentering the community from correctional institutions. FCAN also participates in the Connect 2 Protect consortium of service providers for HIV‐affected adolescents. Additionally, FCAN collaborates with the HIV case management system statewide, including the Illinois Ryan White CARE Connect Regions covering the state’s 102 counties.

 

Evaluation/Outcomes

Evaluation/Outcomes

The evaluation of FOIV will be conducted by a research team headed by Dr. James Gleeson, Associate Professor at the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Social work services will be evaluated by measures such as: client numbers, demographics, and needs; analysis and measurement of levels of risk and protective factors at various service intervals; analysis of whether interventions match client service plans; and a multivariate trajectory analysis to determine if changes in risk and protective factors over time can be attributed to Family Options’ interventions. Participant surveys will also be administered, and will measure the confidence that parents hold in the safety, stability and permanence of their children’s living arrangements, and their assessment of their children’s level of well‐being.

Legal services will be evaluated by client numbers, demographics, contact forms representing instances of client contact, and analysis of whether legal outcomes, as specified in the client’s legal plan, were met.  Policy and systemic reforms will be evaluated by accounting of consortium meeting minutes, number of educational events and attendance at these events, testimony provided and number of policies adopted and bills passed.

Dr. Gleeson will submit the evaluation plan to the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institutional Review Board and will ensure that this plan is approved before data are transferred to the UIC evaluation team for analysis or data are collected from clients by the UIC team.