Specialized Services for Youth helps build brighter futures

Melanie’s son was angry and sad, physically lashing out every day. His emotions and concentration were a constant issue, making school a hardship.

That all changed after the boy began receiving help from Specialized Services for Youth, an Oakland Family Services program for families with a child or teen, ages 6-17, suffering from severe emotional, behavioral or psychological stress. The program is funded by the Oakland Community Health Network

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“An angel, our therapist, entered our life and has supported, taught, and encouraged not just my son but the entire family, and I am forever grateful,” she said. “She has been to his psychiatric appointments, to all of the school meetings, hospital visits, and she has been the most important advocate he has ever had (besides me!)”

Specialized Services for Youth provides individual, family and group counseling as well as case management, in-home services, peer and parent support, respite and psychiatric services.

“I never thought my family, especially my son, would experience peace like this,” Melanie said. “There is still a lot of work to be done, but this experience has exceeded every expectation.”

Clients in this program are youth who have difficulty managing their emotions and being able to express them appropriately. Most have experienced trauma and may be experiencing depression, anxiety, ADHD, trouble getting along with peers, difficulty following orders from parents and teachers, or behavior problems at school, home or in the community.

“Kids have problems, and we see those youth who are in the worst life situations,” said Jeanne Miller, director of the Specialized Services for Youth program. “They may be facing social and economic challenges along with difficulty at home and school.”

Oakland Family Services offers a range of research-based practices that are proven to be effective for families and individuals, Jeanne said.

Parents or caregivers interested in having their child receive services from the agency must first contact Common Ground, which will determine eligibility. Services are funded through Medicaid and State funding for youth who meet eligibility criteria, but do not have Medicaid insurance.

“We are compassionate and care for the children and families we serve,” Jeanne said. “Our goal is to help our clients achieve success.”

If you are interested in learning more about Specialized Services for Youth, contact Jeanne Miller at (248) 858-7766, ext. 1312.