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AROOSTOOK COUNTY ACTION PROGRAM’S INNOVATION STORY

We knew from the start that intensive family coaching would be key to the success of our whole family approach (WFA). Our families deserved one person who could meet them wherever they were, listen to their hopes and dreams, and provide guidance to help them achieve their goals in a non-judgmental, nonprescriptive, holistic, and dedicated way.

The work of a coach is rigorous: each one (we now have seven) supports a caseload of between 20 and 30 families and can spend as many as 4 hours a week with each. Since our coaches must be equipped to provide a wide range of services—from identification of resources to handling crises to counseling—our model stipulates that coaches be licensed and certified social workers.

Because we were aware that the large caseloads and intense interactions could lead to significant stress or even burnout, we provide our coaches with not only weekly supervision—both group and individual—but also a monthly visit by a mental health consultant to discuss individual cases or provide personal or professional support as needed. We believe our attention to our coaches’ well-being is essential to the success of our coaching program. When our coaches thrive, our families thrive.

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