Updates - The Help Group Child and Family Center’s CalWORKs Program: Building Positive, Productive Lives for Families

 

Since 1985, The Help Group’s Child and Family Center (THGCFC) has offered comprehensive mental health services to the children and families of our community through the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Department of Mental Health (DMH). Recognizing that the challenges in our community are complex, the Center focuses on strengthening individuals and families through improving mental health and maximizing access to care and community resources. THGCFC has a long history of developing and expanding clinical and educational programs in response to the special populations and growing needs of the families in our community.

One of the many successful programs in The Help Group’s continuum of care is CalWORKs Mental Health Treatment, part of Los Angeles County’s CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work program administered by the Department of Social Services.  The goal of the program is to improve the lives of children and families by assisting adults and caretakers to become economically self-sufficient. Treatment includes a broad array of mental health services for adult CalWORKs/GAIN participants whose clinical assessments have determined that they have a mental health related barrier to employment.

Maria*, who resides in Reseda, first began receiving services at The Help Group in 2012. Trapped in a cycle of domestic violence and struggling with substance abuse as a means of self-medicating her pain, Maria had lost custody of her children to DCFS. Help Group clinicians offered support to Maria, but she was not ready to work through her challenges and eventually dropped out of services in early 2013.

In the fall of 2013, Maria found out she was pregnant with her third child. Flashbacks and painful memories of the DCFS involvement crossed her mind, and grief began to settle in again. Maria quickly re-enrolled in services at The Help Group in the fall of 2013, working closely with the agency’s experienced social workers, clinicians, supervisors, psychiatrists, case managers and employment specialists.

She began weekly individual and group therapy that utilized evidence-based methods like Cognitive Behavioral Treatment and Seeking Safety interventions to keep her safe, reduce high risk behavior and support a healthy pregnancy. As-needed case management added to Maria’s strong support system, and in 2014, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

Maria took a few weeks off to care for her newborn daughter, but regularly checked in by phone with her Help Group team to stay motivated and engaged. Upon returning to therapy, she enrolled in our Individualized Placement Support (IPS) services and was paired with an Employment Specialist to help her more closely with her barriers to employment and find permanent employment.

Today, Maria is employed as a real estate agent by a large, well-known company and will celebrate two years of sobriety in September. She completed a three-month leadership/mentor program and has enrolled in an education program to complete the last units needed to obtain her high school degree. During this time, Maria also got the happy news that she is pregnant with her 4th child. Anchored by the strong, supportive network of church groups, AA groups, her AA sponsor and family she has built, Maria’s future looks bright for her and her growing family. In looking back on her journey, Maria shared, “I love that The Help Group was a one-stop shop for all of my supportive needs. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for the amazing team at The Help Group who believed in me.”

 

To learn more about The Help Group Child and Family Center, please click here.

 

*Names and details have been changed to protect client confidentiality.