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If I Could: Families Destroy Themselves, so Families Have to Heal Themselves

NCJ Number
Patti Obrow White
Date Published
24 pages
This videotape discusses the dilemma of single parenthood and describes a program for at-risk youth.
Seventy percent of juveniles in State operated institutions come from fatherless homes. Children from fatherless homes are more likely to commit suicide, run away, have behavioral disorders, commit rape, drop out of high school, abuse chemical substances, and end up in prison. Childhood abuse and neglect increases the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59 percent. Nationwide, the incidence of neglect is almost two and a half times that of physical abuse. One in four families are affected by domestic violence. VisionQuest, developed 30 years ago, provides innovative treatment programs for at-risk youth. Often these youth have significant trauma due to past experiences of abandonment and abuse. The program provides out-of-home residential care to community-based alternatives and teaches troubled kids how to succeed in life. One such kid was Tracy, who 20 years ago was the subject of a documentary film featuring VisionQuest. Her troubled son, James, is now the subject of this videotape. The film features their struggle to escape the effects of trauma after experiencing abuse, abandonment, drugs, and anger. VisionQuest is characterized as a program that develops pride and self-knowledge through challenging adventures in a natural environment; teaches youth to value positive contributions to society; promotes respect for life through therapeutic relationships with animals; and provides a family-like atmosphere with nurturing caregivers that set limits and provide support. Young people learn about the pleasure of being a contributing community member through community service projects. Day and evening support, outreach services, and tracking services are included as community-based probation and aftercare alternatives. Outpatient counseling and wrap-around services are provided. There are group homes for youth in transition. Assessment centers and shelters provide a detention alternative for at-risk youth. There are also alternative schools using the VisionQuest approach in a public school setting.