In response to community needs, The Chase Home continues to expand its In-Home Program, which provides families struggling with drug and alcohol abuse or juvenile problems direct care within their homes.
“It is really important to work within the families environment,” said Executive Director Meme Wheeler, who said the program is in its fourth year of operation. “It allows us to understand what is going on in the home.”
Recently, The Chase Home hired a second in-home worker.
“The demand for this program is definitely there,” added Wheeler. “As of March 1, we hired a second in-home worker, Kelsey Fitta.”
According to Fitta, the work takes place in people’s home between one to three days each week for one hour at a time.
“I enjoy the work I do and feel that it’s important in helping build a better relationship between the youth and their family,” she said. “At these visits, I cover anything from talking about how their week has gone, discussing better communication, mediating arguments, or talking about school.”
In addition to Fitta, Jyana Jordan has worked in the home-based services program for the past year and at The Chase Home for the past three years.
“In the past year, I have been a part of many cases that supported teens and their families in identifying problems, barriers to success, and triggers for emotional outbursts,” she said. “I have helped create structure, consistency, coping skills, and improve overall communication, which led to teens being able to remain in their home.”
As part of the program, families are connected to a variety of services, including therapy, psychiatry, or section 8 housing.
“Any support we can offer both during and after the program is important,” added Wheeler, who said the main goal behind the program is prevention.
She cited the Family First Prevention Services Act, signed into law in 2018, as an important step to ensure that child welfare agencies will focus more on prevention.
“If we can put more money, time, and resources into prevention first to potentially prevent placement of children out of their home and family, that’s what we should all be doing,” she added. “To that end, we are in the process of becoming Child Health Support certified so we can provide services that will help prevent placement for young children.”
Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth is one of the oldest nonprofits in New Hampshire, serving more than 140 at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.