Family Intervention Team
The population and caseload of most Sutter County social service agencies, juvenile
courts, law enforcement and schools has changed dramatically during the last decade.
The nature of both the behavior and attitude of youth involved in the dependency
and wardship process has become far more complex. Local schools are increasingly
involved in complex student and family problems that impact all elements of our
community. More serious and violent criminal activity, as well as an escalating
degree of substance abuse presented by both children and members of their family
is demonstrating this complexity. In addition increasingly serious emotional and
physical health problems of children and families is being identified.
This rethinking process included the following principles:
·The problems of youth are interrelated with those of his/her parents;
In order to better impact the youth and families receiving services in Sutter County a Policy Group comprised of leaders of law enforcement, public agencies, education, and the courts began to evaluate current services available in our community as well as the demand for those services. During this assessment process it was a consensus of the group that the judiciary must take a lead role in monitoring and managing the treatment and rehabilitation process for children appearing before the court. It was also agreed the earlier the court intervened, the better. In this regard Sutter County benefited from having a single judge who presides over Juvenile and Family Court Matters.
Discussions of the Policy Group identified early and extensive assessment of the youth and his/her family as being a critical aspect for success. It was also agreed that the assessment and treatment process have an "outreach" component and include home visits, either by service staff or law enforcement. All involved with the process agreed that it is important to look for indicators of problems not simply overt signs. Truancy, fighting, lack of basic educational and other skills, involvement in domestic violence, lack of employment, prior criminal history, are cited as examples of such indicators.