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March 2012

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What's in this Issue...

Pinebrook Introduces its Community Training Center and Free Training
A Story of Family Empowerment

Mother Hugging Girl  Mar 2012

Child Abuse Prevention
and the Role of
Children and Youth Services

Guest Speaker
Valerie Rode, MSW, LSW
Program Specialist
Lehigh County Office of Children & Youth Services

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Pinebrook’s Community Training Center
402 North Fulton Street, Allentown, PA 18102

Registration/Continental Breakfast
9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Open House
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Parents, caregivers and community-at-large are welcome to attend.
Limited seating available. Reservations accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Please RSVP by Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Suzanne Messner
610-432-3919 or


The following story is a great example of family empowerment and resiliency. The family was willing to share their story as a way to help other families in need. The family and several members of their Pinebrook treatment team were interviewed for this article.

Patrick was 16 years old when the anger he had been carrying around for some time eventually led to his involvement with the Juvenile Justice System and admission to a residential treatment hospital. Upon his discharge from the hospital in August 2011, Patrick was referred to Pinebrook’s Community Residential Rehabilitation (CRR) Host Home program and placed with a family who worked well with adolescent males. At that time, Patrick wasn’t ready to return home to his own family; however, family work sessions started immediately. Through a variety of therapeutic interventions, including individual and family therapy, Patrick continued to make steady progress at his CRR Host Home, which resulted in the planning for his successful transition back home. Family-based Mental Health Services, a family preservation/reunification treatment model that Pinebrook has been offering for many years, was determined by all parties involved to be key in Patrick’s successful transition back home. Today, Patrick is living with his family and is continuing to work on his anger and the need to be truthful to himself and others. Patrick’s mother feels more empowered and supported as a parent, and together with her partner Steve, hold Patrick and his brother Zach more accountable for their own behavior.

Patrick Family (for Mad Mimi)

The interview begins with Carol, Patrick’s mother:

“I got involved with Pinebrook when Patrick was in the hospital. From there Patrick went into care with Miss Pat, a CRR host parent who has been with Pinebrook a long time, and I couldn’t have asked for a better person for him to be with. Patrick has had Mike Daniels and Mike Knorr and a bunch of other supportive people at Pinebrook. Patrick has come back as a totally different person. It has been a long road, six months or so, but the outcome has been tremendous!”

Have things changed for you as a parent?

Carol: “Absolutely. I’ve had sessions with Miss Pat and she helped me. I have learned different parenting skills that I needed to fine tune, and it has been a growing process for me. I am more in charge of my household now, absolutely. I was basically a mom who parented with guilt. I had been a single mom all my life."

Steve: (nodding his head in agreement)… “She would ground them for a week and I would come home from work and they would be outside. The way it is now, if you’re punished for a week, you’re punished for a week. When you are asked to do something, you do it. You have to go to school; you do your homework and do your chores and once those jobs are done you go outside, ride your bike, and go fishing. You did what you were asked to do…that’s what I had to do when I was a kid. It’s like she (Carol) said…things are changed now.”

Patrick, how have things changed for you?

Patrick: “A lot has changed for me actually…I have a better outlook on things. I still sometimes lie a little bit but I’m getting a lot better at being more honest. I take more responsibility, and have been learning how to deal with my anger. There are no surprises with the rules. It’s a lot stricter, but it helps…there is less leeway of getting into trouble.”

What about you, Zach?

Zach: “Patrick is nice to me now. Friday, we had a good time with each other like we never had before. I think he’s come a long way from where he’s been and it’s a relief in my life. I am watching the family… we are not crying any more…we have become united, and I just think there is a lot to be thankful for. We have goals: open communication, following the rules, respect each other, participation, and try to tell the truth. I see a lot of changes in my family…my mom is not crying and I’m not crying now. We have become united.”

Carol: “We have become more like a family. Before, Steve stayed very quiet. I feel like we are finally becoming one…like a whole family. I’ve learned a lot.”

As a family based team, what has changed with this family?

Kristi (Mental Health Worker): “Their natural supports are definitely each other. I met them (Patrick and his family) two months ago and have been working with them since. I can tell mom is a lot more confident today. You can see the two of them (the parents) talking and they do a great job parenting together.”

Erica (Mental Health Professional): “Obviously the framework has been set here. The family wants their situation to get better and we are all on board with that. We have a clear vision of where this family wants to go.”

As a family, what are some of the goals you want to work on?

Zach: “I have them (opens a paper): Open communication, following rules is a big thing we need to do, respect for each other because we need to have that. We did this little chart… RESPECT: R: responsibility; E: exceptional behavior; S: set the goals; P: participation; E: encouragement; C: Corresponding with each other; T: try to be good to each other. We also did another one: LISTEN: Love each other; Immediate response, like Steve was saying; Support each other; Trust; Earn; Nonsense…we don’t want nonsense, so take responsibility.”

Kristi: “I have to say the really nice thing about this family is that when we come to their home, they are ready to work, want to work and they want to change.”

Carol: “We all did this as a family. What I see as a goal for our family is to become more united. Steve and I being on a more united front… he’s helped me feel like he is ready to take on more responsibility and kind of nurture them. They are sixteen and thirteen and have a lot of stuff ahead of them. One of my goals is to try and be a better parent and I finally have a partner who can help me with that. I would recommend Pinebrook to anybody…I have never had the support, even being on my own even when Steve was not here. Others who have come here never got to the root of anything… so I am thrilled with Pinebrook and all the services I’ve received. The team was telling me that we are in charge of the process, and that's really kind of cool. I would recommend Pinebrook to anybody and I mean that from my heart.”


Our mission at Pinebrook is to promote the well-being and self-sufficiency of the children, young adults, and families in our communities by providing the highest quality prevention, treatment and advocacy services.


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