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Since 1983, Families in Need of Services (FINS) Community Programs have provided prevention services to youth and families. This program targets at-risk youth and status offenders ages 12-17 who live in communities with high rates of juvenile crime. The program serves teens who are exhibiting risk factors such as problems specific to family, school and substance abuse. We emphasize character development, academic achievement and social responsibility to reduce the risk of dropping out of school, substance abuse and future delinquency.
The FINS program is funded by the State of Florida and is currently for families living in the following counties:
FINS-community students are referred by schools, social services agencies and community organizations such as: teen court, drug court, civil citation, and local crisis runaway shelters.
The following are baseline risk factors used to determine eligibility of youth served. Youth must meet at least two of these risk factors:
Living in a high delinquency zip code
Attending a low performing school
Significant academic problems (including: chronic truancy, suspensions, expulsion, failing two or more classes within a semester,has been held back and/or failed a grade level)
Significant family problems
History of using drugs or alcohol
Exhibiting pre-delinquent behavior
FINS-community programs are broken into two components: Wilderness Expedition and Transition Component. Together, through the use of evidence-based model, youth and family focus on:
Individualized & family goal planning
Behavior intervention & management (includes pro-social and life skills focus)
Non-therapeutic individual, group, peer and family counseling
Youth participate in an intense 20-day wilderness expedition focused on and promoting success-oriented skill-building and mastery in a wilderness setting. This is followed by an intensive minimum 20-day transition to focus on home and school issues. Families can be served up to six months based on need. Youth and/or families participate in the following program components:
Individualized and Family Goal Planning: students and parent/guardians participate in a formal needs assessment to determine individualized goals and objectives surrounding social/life skills, education, family reunification, mental health and substance abuse.
Behavior Intervention & Management: Students are taught skills that focus on improved decision-making, problem solving, anger management, conflict resolution for home and school life.
Service Projects: Students may participate in a community-based service project. As students develop skills to help themselves, they are also involved in learning to care for others.
Parent Education: parents are required to participate in activities during wilderness and transition component. Tools are provided to assist parents in strengthening their relationship with their child.
Family Mediation: parent(s)/guardian and student create a mediated contract. This serves as a framework for transition and assists in the success of both parties upon the student's return to their everyday life.
Transition/Reinforcement: Outward Bound staff meet and work with families in their homes to continue with mediated contract and goal planning. Outward Bound staff also meet with school personnel to provide solutions to ensure academic success. Students receive limited academic credit while participating in wilderness expedition.
Additional Resources for Extended Services: upon completion of a FINS-Community program, students and families are provided with information on outside agencies, support groups and resources to support students and families.
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