Shared Family Care involves the placement of a parent (usually the mother) and at least one child in the homes of community members who mentor the families and help them to obtain the skills and resources they need to achieve their goals. The families are given comprehensive services to meet their needs and increase their social and life skills, as well as, connect them to community supports for ongoing and future relationships.
The Shared Family Care Program targets parents who:
- Have custody of at least one infant or very young child.
- May have just completed a residential alcohol or drug treatment program or are actively participating in an outpatient program.
- Have a high risk of relapse, as well as a potential for homelessness and child removal.
Although referrals are accepted throughout Contra Costa County, the majority of the parents referred come from those communities most impacted by poverty and substance abuse. Most children have open child welfare cases; however this is not an eligibility criterion.
The family receiving help is placed in the home of a mentor family. The mentor provides ongoing hands on support and guidance to this family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The recommended placement duration is six months in the mentor home. The Shared Family Care team provides intensive and varied services to the parent and their child(ren). Optional after care services are available up to six months after placement is over.
The essential components of the Shared Family Care Program are case management, individual family treatment planning, life skills and parenting assessments and in home services, screening and monitoring the development of children, ages four months to five years, relapse prevention support, housing services and individual mentoring.