AURORA, Colo., April 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Betty Ford Center Children's Program, which educates and supports girls and boys ages 7-12 to be healthy and safe when a family member has a substance use disorder, understands that a troubled home life can undermine a child's progress in school. That's why the Children's Program also works with many U.S. school districts to deliver the same quality counseling on school campuses that is offered at its Betty Ford Center sites.
"Sometimes the first place where the effects of addiction are evident is in the classroom," says Jerry Moe, National Director of the Betty Ford Center Children's Program. "Mrs. Ford told me personally that we needed to bring help to the children, not wait for them to come to us. That's what we've done with these school programs."
So far, the Children's Program has implemented counseling curricula for school districts in the Dallas and Denver metro areas, along with several in Southern California. These voluntary programs are led by a Betty Ford Center Children's Program counselor and scheduled during the school day throughout the year.
"Delivering the same level of counseling in the classroom that is only available at a Betty Ford Center site underscores our goal of reaching as many children as we can," says Moe. "We effectively double our outreach with these vital programs."
In the Denver area, seven schools supplement regular school counseling with Betty Ford Center Children's Programs. At Coronado Hills Elementary in the Adams 12 School District, all children in grades three through five are sent home with information about the program and permission slips for parents to sign if they'd like their child to participate. Counselors keep sessions limited to 12 children. The school also adds a graduate counseling session just before summer break to boost coping skills for the long vacation.
"We see many positive results with the Betty Ford Center Program," says Dr. Alyssa Frank-Martin, Psychologist with Adams 12 Schools. "These kids who live in families or have extended family members in which there is a history of alcohol or drug abuse feel isolated and don't know how to deal with their feelings of confusion, anger and/or sadness. They are also at risk later in life of developing problems themselves with alcohol and other drugs. So, the week spent with the Betty Ford counselors provides them with a confidential place to share their feelings with their peers, which reduces the isolation. They learn how to identify their feelings and learn coping skills to deal with situations at home or in their extended family that don't feel safe. Lastly, they play games and have fun with one other."
In the Dallas metroplex, the Irving Independent School District has offered the Betty Ford Center's 5-Star Kids Class – a children's program held during the day at certain district schools – for nearly 19 years. Similar to the Denver program, the district sends letters home with every student in grades two through five, offering the additional counseling service free of charge. The program is entirely voluntary, leaving the decision to participate up to the parents.
"I see kids in the school hallways after these sessions," says Dr. Frank-Martin. "They come up and thank me for the chance to go through this program."
(For photos, video clips and additional information, see the Betty Ford Center Children's Program Press Kit.)
About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. It is the nation's leading nonprofit treatment provider, with a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center. With 17 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas, the Foundation offers prevention and recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults. It includes the largest recovery publishing house in the country, a fully-accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, an education arm for medical professionals and a unique children's program, and is the nation's leader in advocacy and policy for treatment and recovery. Learn more at www.HazeldenBettyFord.org and on Twitter @hazldnbettyford.
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SOURCE Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation