Family crisis therapists engage Delaware children

Dominique Daniago, a Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families K-5 family crisis therapist based at Baltz Elementary School, organizes her summer programming toolkits for families. (Submitted photo)

WILMINGTON — Despite COVID-19, family crisis therapists with the Delaware Children’s Department have continued to engage families with targeted early intervention programming to further social and development skills this summer.

The K-5 Family Crisis Therapists (FCTs), through the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services, work in elementary schools across the state helping children and families manage crisis, increase coping skills to address social and emotional issues and strengthen family engagement. Every summer they connect with families and provide wellness programming.

This summer, FCTs engaged with families and delivered summer programming toolkits to more than 650 children. These toolkits included therapeutic games and tools to enhance decision-making skills, supplement counseling and promote positive parenting. An example of an activity for children includes making a face covering while discussing how the pandemic has impacted their lives.

“COVID-19 has changed lives, but I could not be more proud of my K-5 team for adapting and continuing to reach families,” said Joyce Hawkins, K-5 Intervention Program Manager.

“We know that the earlier we can provide a family with supportive services, the stronger the family foundation. This pandemic may have made our work look a bit different this year, but the passion and desire to make a difference is still there. Our family crisis therapists continue to support caregivers and children to help them in all aspects of life – from increasing coping skills to connecting them to additional resources like food and employment assistance.”

“Our K-5 family crisis therapists are a key part of the school community, providing comprehensive supports during this COVID-19 pandemic. It hasn’t been a typical summer, but our FCTs are working to make sure that children and families still feel supported and empowered. We are continually proud of their commitment and dedication to Delaware youth in such trying times,” said Josette Manning, secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, also known as the Delaware Children’s Department.