The three phase framework is a conceptual view of the process young people and families experience through their relationship with Oak Hill Boys Ranch. The relationship itself is paramount to successful outcomes. Attitude and approach significantly impacts the Ranch’s ability to be effective in working collaboratively with children and their families. The emphasis is on the Ranch’s way of “being” with children and families, including how staff think about, talk with, behave with and respond to them. Through an “appreciative ally” stance, Ranch staff chooses to position themselves in a manner that invites respect, curiosity, and connection. This stance is grounded in assumptions such as client resourcefulness, a commitment to empowering processes and a preference for partnership.
This model is also designed to promote continuity of care. The Ranch program, regardless of living component, is one program where all staff, young people, and families participate together in programming and activities. Young people and their families, commence services at a point in their lives where they are experiencing some of their most challenging times. At Oak Hill Boys Ranch they can maintain a relationship with one service provider through the entire process until reunification and community living is realized and successful.
Phase I: Assessment, Engagement & Stabilization
Engaging young people and their families promotes a solid foundation in which to work. Residential treatment is an intense service and a huge step for children and families. Engagement requires thorough validation and appreciation of their past experiences, genuine respect for being a part of the decision, and a context within which services will be delivered. These three premises are completed over a 30-day period through admission procedures, orientation, and the initial assessment. Simultaneously, the young person is stabilizing by settling into routine, commencing school, completing daily tasks and participating in programming that is developmentally appropriate. Throughout this period the young person is highly supported, supervised and monitored through systems that place external controls around their behaviour. Therapeutic work intensifies following these 30 days as the young person has established trust, feels safe and has worked collaboratively with their key worker and psychologist to establish goals for the themes of treatment.
Phase II: Treatment
Established themes for treatment will be based on the reason for service, the permanency planning and the opinions/recommendations of the service team. The highly skilled service team consists of the program director, psychologist, family therapist, family support worker, key worker, school principal and caseworker. It is highly inclusive of the expertise of the young person and the family. The service team collaborates and provides broad objectives or themes for the services. The objectives and themes become integrated into the daily goals of the young people. They are also integrated within the family setting.
The treatment phase can be best described as a period for practicing new ways of being. Practice and learning are integrated into the daily activities of the Ranch and the family. Continual monitoring, assessment, intervention, and collaboration assists in the identification of successes as well as any necessary changes in treatment.
Phase III: Transitioning and Re-unification
This phase is directed at reincorporating the young person into their family, a substitute family, independent living, or other community living situation. By this time, the young person and family have established new ways of being successful.
The four program components are integrated into this three phase framework as illustrated below. Services generally begin in Kicking Horse Lodge and residents remain in this facility throughout the Engagement and Stabilization phase. Residents will begin the Treatment phase in Athabasca House, Jasper House or Kicking Horse Lodge depending on their needs. Once the major treatment needs are met they will remain in Jasper or transition to Whitehorse Lodge for the Transitioning and Reunification phase.
This model of services has functioned extremely well, however, exceptions may be made if the needs of the young person and the family seem better suited outside the constraints of the model (e.g., a young person may be admitted directly to Athabasca House or may complete his entire stay in one residential component. Discharge may also occur from Jasper House).
The five program components and the service framework provide the structure which the Ranch operates. The packages of services offered by the ranch are utilized by all program components. Variations in programming may occur depending on the needs of the young person and the family; however, all young people will have access to all services available.