Fall Newsletter

The Fall Newsletter is here! This issue includes news about the upcoming holiday events and great parenting tips from our very own Linda Maxwell.

SAVOR 2015

SAVOR 2015

An Evening of Wine, Food, and Muisc to Benefit the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic

On October 16th, the Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic and Guild House restaurant hosted "Savor", a special wine tasting event to benefit the Child Guidance Clinic. The event featured wines from the Pacific coast paired with gourmet hors d'oeuvres and pasta prepared by Guild House.

The Weill Child Guidance Foundation was established in 1990 to conduct fundraising activities in support of the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic. Members of the Weill Child Guidance Foundation have coordinated various events including formal dinners, auctions, and an invitational golf tournament.  For this event, the Foundation partnered with Guild House, an all-volunteer operated restaurant in Downtown Bakersfield whose proceeds also benefit the Child Guidance Clinic.  

Evenings like tonight help shine a light on the Clinic and the importance of mental health services for Kern County children and families
— Joshua Sullivan

Volunteers from the Foundation, Guild House, and Child Guidance Clinic poured wine and entertained guests as they savored a variety of wines of California, Oregon, and Washington.  Brown Armstrong Certified Public Accountants provided the wines for the evening, which were curated by Certified Specialist of Wine, Pierre Freeman.

Guests also enjoyed live performances throughout the evening from artist Christopher Wooley.  "Savor" was a wonderful success, we thank all of our incredible volunteers and guests who came out to support the Child Guidance Clinic.   To learn about future events, please like us on Facebook or subscribe to our newsletter.

Summer Newsletter Has Arrived

The Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic's Summer Newsletter has arrived! Inside you will learn about how the Clinic is eliminating wait-lists for new and returning clients, the upcoming "Child Guidance Night" with the Bakersfield Blaze, and upcoming opportunities to volunteer with Guild House.


The Weill Foundation and Bakersfield Blaze are hosting a fundraiser to help support the Child Guidance Clinic on August 6th. Support the Clinic and enjoy an evening of Blaze baseball by purchasing your tickets online and using promo code HWM

Same-Day Access to Care

Same-Day Access to Care

As the Affordable Care Act, mental health parity, and Medicaid expansion are implemented across the nation, organizations such as the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic are faced with the challenge of serving an increased population and maintaining high standards of care.  The National Council for Behavioral Health estimates that an additional 15 million Americans will qualify for Medicaid by 2019.  To prepare for this growing population, the Clinic began rolling out programs to ensure that clients would continue receiving high-quality services and without long wait-list. This included the introduction of same-day services for new and returning clients.

Same-day services, or walk-in services, allow families to begin the treatment process immediately or at their own convenience.  Prior to providing same-day services, wait-time for non-emergency clients could range between 10 and 14 days.  During that waiting period, a family could become disengaged from treatment, feel frustrated that their case was going untreated, or see a temporary improvement in behavioral problems–all of which contributed to clients failing to return for scheduled appointments. By offering same-day services, the Clinic is able to  increase client engagement and convey that their treatment is our top priority. 

The Clinic now offers same-day access  at all three of our Kern County locations.  Since the successful implementation of same-day services, the average wait-time for new clients has dropped from 14 days to 0 days.  By improving the first experience for our clients, the Clinic hopes to see improved mental health outcomes, a reduction in no-show rates, and increased client satisfaction.

Visit coaching

Visit coaching

Visit coaching is a one-on-one parent coaching program in which a care coordinator prepares parents for supervised visits with their children. A Visit Coach assesses the needs of the children, plans activities, assists the parent with problem-solving, supports the parent through difficult post-visit separations, and plans additional visits.

Each year, hundreds of Kern County children are removed from their homes and placed into foster care for their protection. 95.7% of children entering foster care for the first time are removed due to parental neglect and/or abuse (kidsdata.org, 2013). For the majority of children placed into foster care, the primary objective of their case plan is reunification with their family. Reunification requires intensive case management, family-focused treatment, and parent education. The Child Guidance Clinic’s Time-Limited Family Reunification and Parent Education programs provide the necessary services to help parents create a safe and stable home for their children to return to. As a result of programs such as these, less than 9% of Kern County Children reunified with their family in 2012 returned to foster care– a significant reduction from nearly 25% in 2000 (Kern County Network for Children, 2014).

Re-Entries into Foster Care 2000-2012

As families move toward reunification they may experience difficulties with behavior or require additional parent training. The Department of Human Services will refer these families to the Child Guidance Clinic for Visit Coaching services. Visit Coaching is a twelve-week intensive program that focuses on maximizing visitations and preparing parents and children for successful reunification. Visit Coaches help parents plan two- hour weekly visitations, develop strong parenting skills and techniques, prepare families to deal with the difficulty of separation after a visit, and prepare them for following visitations. Visit Coaching activities take place in simulated-living environments located at the Child Guidance Clinic, such as living rooms, play rooms, and an outdoor playground.

Visitations may center around an activity such as a board game, drawing family portraits, or a picnic. Visit coaches also model parenting techniques during visits such as healthy discipline techniques or giving positive praise when a child is doing well. Tiffany Delouth, a visit coach and care coordinator for the Clinic, emphasized the importance of helping parents develop healthy parenting techniques, “We build on a family’s strengths and give them tools and techniques to take with them so that when they complete Visit Coaching, they are successful and are not referred back.”

Visit Coaches work closely with parents for up to six months after completing the program. “We help parents find housing, furniture, and appliances they may need; we make rent deposits, and even transport parents as they look for housing. Anything families needs to have a safe home.” stated Delouth. Visit coaches also work closely with social workers and the court system to ensure that parents are meeting the requirements for a successful reunification.

The ultimate goal for Visit Coaching is to help parents build loving, healthy homes to raise their children in and reduce the amount of time children spend in the foster care system. Children who reunify quickly have significantly less behavioral difficulties than children who spend more than two years in foster care. By providing parents the tools necessary for success, the Visit Coaching Program is building healthy and happy families.

You can learn more about Visit Coaching, Time-Limited Family Reunification, and Parent Education services by calling (661) 322-1021.

Child Guidance Night at Sam Lynn Ballpark

Come help the Child Guidance Clinic and the Bakersfield Blaze recognize Mental Health Month on Friday May 8th when the Blaze take on the Visalia Rawhide. When you order your tickets online and use promo code "hwm" the Blaze will donate 50% of your purchase to the Clinic to help fund programs and services for children right here in Kern County. Call Joshua at 661-322-1021 if you would like to sponsor a family to attend the game.

Stable Skills

Stable Skills

In early 2009, The Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic and MARE Riding Center partnered to create the Stable Skills Program, an innovative equine-assisted psychotherpay program focused on helping children reach their mental health goals. Since then, over 100 clients have participated in the program, making Stable Skills our largest and longest running partner program.

A rider experiences riding horseback for the first time

A rider experiences riding horseback for the first time

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Hippotherapy has been used to assist children with physical disabilities improve their strength, balance, posture, and coordination since the early 1940's.  This early work also demonstrated strong psychological benefits for riders.  A clients ability to handle the horse inspires confidence, teaches responsibility, and promotes teamwork, encourages communication, and builds trust.  Stable Skills is Kern County's only equine-assisted psychotherapy program.

Mrs. Beezlee offers her services as an equine-therapist to help riders build confidence, trust, and respect through the rider-horse bond. 

Mrs. Beezlee offers her services as an equine-therapist to help riders build confidence, trust, and respect through the rider-horse bond. 

Stable Skills

Stable Skills provides Child Guidance clients the opportunity for dynamic interaction with the MARE horses and trainers.  The curriculum focuses on developing social and behavioral tools for children  living in low socio-economic households in both Metropolitan and North Bakersfield.  Each of the 2-hour long sessions center around a curriculum developed to:

·      Improve social skills and relationship building capabilities

·      Improve coping skills

·      Increase self-concept and confidence

·      Improve communication skills and appropriate emotional expression

·      Increase feelings of power and control in one’s life

·      Improve academic performance and attendance

·      Develop positive character traits such as respect, courage and leadership

The curriculum goals are achieved through group therapy, social interaction, riding, and caring for the horses.  The groups are facilitated by therapists and intervention specialists accompanied by instruction from horse trainers. 

Riders learn the art of therapeutic vaulting.  Vaulting is a style of competitive riding often referred to as gymnastics on horseback; therapeutic vaulting utilizes the same basic techniques but rather than focusing on competition between riders, the focus is on providing each rider with opportunities for success.  The additional challenge of performing maneuvers on a moving horse retains the riders’ commitment to the group and provides the rider a greater sense of accomplishment.

The Stable Skills program is designed to work in coordination with traditional clinical treatment to address the mental health needs of children.  By introducing equine-facilitated group therapy to a client’s treatment plan, therapists are able to engage their client, open new avenues of discussion, and introduce new interventions.  The Stable Skills helps to expedite a client’s treatment and help them achieve their mental health goals.  

If you would like to support the Stable Skills Program, click the support button below or visit our friends at MARE Riding Center. 

Guild house valentine's dinner

The wonderful volunteers of Guild House Restaurant will be hosting a special Valentines Dinner on Saturday, February 14th. Enjoy an incredible gourmet dinner while supporting the Child Guidance Clinic.

family dynamics

family dynamics

The following is a summary of an interview with Lorena Rodriguez, a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern at the Delano Child Guidance Clinic. Rodriguez was born and raised in Delano and joined the Child Guidance Clinic team in 2012 as a member of the Student Assistance Program. Today, she is a part of the Clinic’s outpatient Medi-Cal program and works closely with the children and families of Northern Kern County.

Family dynamics are the patterns of interaction between family members. While each family and its dynamics are unique, there are some common patterns that occur. The Child Guidance Clinic works primarily with children, but children are just one part of the larger family system. Providing treatment to the entire family, identifying helpful and unhelpful dynamics within the family system, and developing new patterns of interaction are important to a child’s success in treatment.

The family system is fundamental to the social development and behaviors of children. Communication, socialization, emotional coping, and conflict resolution are examples of learned skills developed by children that are heavily influenced by family dynamics. It is important that caregivers understand that children’s behavior is learned through their relationships and interactions and that participation from the entire family system is necessary in treatment. Early in treatment, caregivers learn to recognize family dynamics which result in negative and positive behaviors. We ask parents to identify the last time their child displayed positive behaviors , and we ask questions to pinpoint the difference between that event and an event where the child displayed negative behavior; what was the activity, what was the parent’s interaction with the child like, and who was the child interacting with? If a child has a more positive response to one parent, or a grandparent, then parents should identify that dynamic and use it to improve their own interactions with their child.

Families with multiple children often feel one child is having more difficulties than his or her siblings. We try to identify the difference in the relationship between parents and siblings and stress the importance of love and affection. While a parent may believe their child knows that they are loved, it is important for children to hear and feel that parents love them regularly. It is also important that parents understand what makes each child feel loved, one child may feel loved from a high-five or a hug, others may need to be told that they are loved. Creating a pattern of behavior between parent and child that makes the child feel loved is crucial to that child developing positive social skills, communication skills, and self- esteem.

Other family dynamics should be the same for every child in a family system. Rules, discipline, rewards, and recognition of positive behavior should be implemented uniformly by parents, grandparents, and other adults who interact with the child. Just as parents may assume children know they are loved, parents often assume children know and understand house rules and expectations. It is important that rules are expressed clearly, discipline is the same between siblings, and that the entire family system is operating within the same guidelines. We encourage extended family, such as grandparents, to participate in treatment. Families should also communicate with their child’s teachers to learn what is working or not working while the child is at school. If a child is on a behavior chart at home, a teacher can report positive behaviors to parents to create consistency across as many relationships in that child’s life as possible.

Many times family dynamics have been passed down from generation to generation, and what may have worked in one family system does not in another. It is important that parents understand that problem behaviors are symptoms and often distract families from larger issues. Changing family dynamics can feel uncomfortable because it requires effort and dedication, but the results are positive and lasting.

The Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic offers weekly support groups, Parent Project, and Loving Solutions courses for parents through out Kern County. Many schools also provide similar courses at no charge. If you would like to learn more about the services provided by the Child Guidance Clinic or other resources available in your area, contact the Clinic at (661) 322-1021.