Establishing a comfortable work relationship is one of the most important factors for consultants working with families dealing with issues. For Boys Town's Livie Gordon, it made the difference in helping a family come together and find solutions for its problems.
Livie is a Family-Centered Services Specialist for Boys Town in Sioux City, Iowa. She began providing services for a family this past February with a 15-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter. Services began after their daughter unfortunately ended up between mom and dad during a physical altercation. Tensions were already high after their son was removed from the home and placed with relatives due to alleged sexual abuse concerns he had with another child in the community.
The parents were not getting along, argued often and the home atmosphere was very tense.
Livie was able to develop a positive working relationship with the family very early on. Originally, she was not their primary service provider, but covered one day of services with them and made a positive impression.
The family stated they felt comfortable working with Livie. She was able to get mom, dad, and the daughter into counseling services right away and she introduced a safety plan with them. She also taught the family various communication skills, helped them work through difficult situations and taught parenting skills from Common Sense Parenting®.
Livie made a difference.
The family never needed to use their safety plan and they never had another incident of domestic violence. They reported being able to the use the skills Livie had taught them, such as giving space to one another when having a disagreement and using healthy communication skills when they were both calm and ready to talk.
Additionally, there were issues between the family and the relatives caring for their 15-year-old son. The boy was unhappy while he was there and asked to return home before going to placement. They asked Livie if their case could remain open so she could support them in having their son home with them. Livie and the family advocated to the DHS worker to keep the case open until the son's placement was available and DHS agreed.
The worker returned the child to the parent's home and Livie continued to provide services to the family. The son struggled with listening, following through, and staying on task and they often reached out to Livie for assistance in how to deal with these behaviors. When Livie would arrive at the family home, all of the family members were seated at the table and ready to work on whatever skill Livie was teaching that appointment. There were no incidents with the son while he was home and the parents did not have major arguments or disagreements between one another. Their case has now closed successfully.