List of Services
As our name suggests, we specialize in adoption home studies. However, we have many years experience in a variety of other counseling service specialties as well. They range from navigating the court system for children to helping war veterans cope with the stress of reentry into life on home soil to advocating for special needs children. Below you will find a brief overview of some of the services we provide. Please free to contact us with any questions you may have.
- The Adoption Home Study
- Individual and Group Therapy
- Juvenile Justice Specialization
- Military PTSD Counseling
- Individual Educational Planning (IEP)
- Professional Social Work Case Management
Goal of the Adoption Home Study:
Adoption is both an emotional and sometimes intimidating process which requires professional expertise to assist in adoption practice, policy and law. By working independently, we are able to offer services in a more relaxed environment and will work diligently to be of support to your family.
Often referred to as a “family assessment”, the home study is a written report containing the findings of a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW) and is required by law prior to consideration for adoption. The LCSW will meet with you and your family on several occasions in order to gain a better understanding of your family. The report addresses five main areas of the family: Personal History, Health, Criminal Background, Financial Statement, and Personal References. The final report will help the court determine if necessary qualifications have been met based on criteria established by state law. For more information about each of areas included in this report, check out the FAQ page.
Through interviews and assessments the following information will be obtained:
- Criminal Background
- Home Safety
- Support Network
- Family Relationships and Daily Life
- Parenting Practices
- Spiritual Beliefs
- How Prepared The Prospective Adoptive Parents Feel
The adoption home study is a process, and the LCSW provides services beyond the procurement of the written report. The LCSW is also there to help the family meet the criteria for adoption and ensure a healthy transition for both the family and child. In fact, it is our belief at Arkansas Home Study and Counseling Services that this is the most important role of the LCSW. Below are some of the other services we offer:
Orientation and Skills Training:
Skill building, as appropriate, will be provided to help the adoptive family members to prepare for transition and adjustments as they proceed with the adoption process. Many children also come with special needs that require special support and resources from the community.
Sessions during the adoption home study process help the family learn why advocacy is so crucial:
- How to understand the grief, abandonment, and betrayal a child often feels
- How to cope with a child’s needs
- How to successfully assist your child through the transition period
- How to deal with the issues that surround the adoption of a special needs child
- How to prepare for the potential challenges that many adoptive parents face (See FAQ for examples)
- What are the “Realities of Adoption”
Adopting a child is a major life decision and life change that comes with a lot of inherent stress. These issues are not limited to just the child or the parents, but effect the entire family and everyone else involved. It is often important to address these stressors before the child arrives. These issues can include:
- Adopted Child – Loss of biological connections, friends, pets, school, former routines, etc.
- Adoptive Parents – Grieving over loss of hope for own biological child and/or adjusting to the new child
- Siblings – Coping with a new sibling and the shared attention and affection of the parents
- Birth Parents – Coping with the loss of own child and the process of letting go
Continued Support and Counseling
Once the child has arrived in the home, there may be new needs and adjustments to be addressed. We continue to offer support and answer any questions as is needed. We can also help to connect the family with other resources to ensure the success and happiness of their new life.
Many people face challenging experiences that cause stress or a sense of ill-feeling. This can be the result of an isolated incident, a period of stress, or a lifetime struggle. We provide services to assist in these areas, including but not limited to:
- Promoting increased sense of well-being by working through problems
- Providing a relaxed, confidential environment to talk about personal issues
- Recognizing, identifying and assessing interpersonal and environmental factors that may be contributing to psychiatric issues
- Learning appropriate coping and interpersonal skills to deal with others
- Recognizing, identifying and assessing dysfunctional ways of thinking, behaving, and/or emoting
- Modifying overt behavior (i.e. anger management)
- Forming goals and creating a plan to achieve them
- Adapting therapy to meet the developmental needs of children (i.e. working through art, games and activities when the child has not yet reached the developmental stage to articulate thoughts and feelings through talk therapy)
Many children and adolescents are exposed to the court system for one reason or another. Sometimes it is because they engage in delinquent or criminal behavior. Sometimes it is because they are caught in a situation for which they have no control, such as in Dependency Court. Dependency Court hears cases about minor who have been neglected or abused. Our services Include both Delinquency and Dependency Court advocacy. We provide:
- Support for abused and neglected children
- Support for children going through their parents’ divorce
- Treatment for a broad range of problems found in juveniles who engage in delinquent or criminal behavior
- Testimony or moral support in the court room
- Helping the family build skills for improving dynamics and communication
- Promoting increased motivation for treatment
- Continued support to avoid relapses in behaviors
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe form of anxiety that can develop after exposure to any event which results in psychological trauma. Many of our war heroes are returning home without the necessary coping skills to help them adjust to their previous way of life before they were sent away to fight for our country. This can be emotionally draining and confusing for both the veteran and the friends and family involved. Characteristics of stress reactions include but not limited to:
- Sleep disturbances
- Avoidance behaviors
- Sever anxiety attacks
- Limp, unfocused gaze (the thousand yard stare)
- Flashbacks of certain traumatic events (dysphoric hyper-arousal)
- Spiritual Beliefs
- Constant scanning of the environment for “threats” (hyper-vigilance)
Offering therapy to help change patterns of thinking or behaviors responsible for the negative emotions that many veterans face is essential. We provide education about the condition as well as provision of safety and support. Processing through the traumatic memories, learning appropriate coping skills and involving social supports will also be part of the therapeutic approach. The ultimate goal will be to ease the emotional wounds so many of our heroes have acquired and making the healing connection back with family and friends.
Many children have special needs and struggle in school and other areas because those needs are not being met. Our services are designed to address the specific medical needs and/or physical limitations of children with developmental delays or other learning disabilities while providing guidance and support for parents.
We also advocate for these children who are struggling in school due to emotional, behavioral, learning and/or attention problems. This often includes educating teachers, parents, and others on how to work as a valued member of the child’s IEP team. Sometimes it is necessary to fight for the appropriate modifications to be included in your child’s IEP. The support of a Licensed Certified Social Worker to explain or clarify problems with teachers and other school staff can help facilitate this process.
One of the major roles of a social worker is to ensure a client or family is receiving the maximum amount of support in all areas of their life. There is a network of resources and services available, and we have many years of experience navigating those systems. We advocate for clients in the particular settings in which they are involved and link individuals to the appropriate community resources. Our goal is that there is a continuity of care and support in all aspects of our clients’ lives for whatever difficulties our clients may face.