Addressing some of the most difficult situations a child might experience – violence, sexual abuse, child abuse, grief and loss

Directions for Youth & Families provides 13 specialized counseling programs. Three of the more intense programs are PROMISES, for sexual abuse survivors, Children Who Witness Violence, and COMPS, Children of Murdered Parents and Siblings. DFYF staff are trained in resilience-oriented, trauma-informed care. All programs have individual, family, and group counseling components.

The families we serve work hard to achieve change. They do not come and simply share their feelings once a week. They participate actively in challenging discussions and try new ways to cope and adapt. They have counseling homework week to week. The individuals and families in these programs come to services as a result of traumatic experiences with a very specific set of clinical needs. These programs are important because they serve those specific needs through a helping relationship so that individuals and families can process, adapt, and move forward into healthy, productive, full lives.

Video stories of two of our families that worked really honestly and really hard:

A Family Heals – Children Who Witness Violence Program

All three children handled exposure to violence differently. Mom and kids discuss the importance of working through trauma issues with their counselor and with each other.

Anizhae’s Story, a daughter and mom healing – Children of Murdered Parents Program

A daughter copes with her father’s murder and her mom deals with her own sorrow and getting her daughter through the sadness. They share how counseling helped them heal.

Youth in our PROMISES groups came up with a long-standing tradition of writing a note to future group members to encourage them not to be scared to attend their first group counseling session. Here are two examples of notes written:

Dear Survivors,

Being in a group could make you feel uncomfortable, however, you will get through it. No matter what – each set of eyes have gone through the same thing. Just remain honest. The workers are here to help. I was nervous and uncomfortable because it was my first group. Remember, you’ve survived the abuse, the worst part is over. Now you can get through the counseling. It may get bumpy but you’ll make it. Trust me, I did.

Dear Survivors,

Promises group is a lot of fun. It’s a placed to get to know yourself and a place where you can be comfortable to talk to others about the struggles you have. I never thought group would have helped me, and I never wanted to open up, but I am glad to say that I have. Don’t be afraid to open up and pour out your heart, because if there is any place, this would be the place. Enjoy the time with your group members and workers. Life will get better, I promise. I’ve gone through many things and being able to be in a group like this has allowed me to get through these things. I am so grateful for this group.