Weekly sessions will share Texas Model techniques with families & caregivers

by John McGreevy, TJJD Communications

On the evening of Tuesday, January 11, at 6 pm, a small group of parents and caregivers of teens from across Texas gathered over Zoom. They didn’t know one another, but they all had one thing in common: They wanted to learn the skills that would help their child succeed at home after leaving the care of TJJD.

This virtual gathering was for a session for TJJD’s new Texas Model Training for TJJD Youth Caregivers and Families. The program is a six-week interactive series that offers parents and caregivers a comprehensive approach to understanding the Texas Model and how it assists the progress of youth while they are at a TJJD facility. The goal of the training is to help parents and guardians learn skills and techniques they can use in their day-to-day lives to reduce conflict and ease communication so they can guide and better support their teen.

The training can equip families to address situations and questions that may arise as they welcome their TJJD youth home. Questions such as: What is the best way to respond to a stressful situation? How do you talk about your feelings and impulses in a healthy way? Where do you turn when you are feeling angry or dysregulated?

The sessions include information about Texas Model topics like healthy coping skills, emotional and behavioral regulation, the importance of connection, behavioral correction strategies, and the principles of trauma-informed care. Each session is hosted by a TJJD staff member who has expertise in a certain area. For example, Desiree Cortinas, who is a family enrichment specialist, leads a conversation on “Creating a Trauma Informed Lens.” This is all designed to give family members a better idea of the strategies and skills the youth have been learning during their time spent in the facility. There also is time at the end of each session for questions or to share experiences. Each time a parent, caregiver or family member participates in one of these six sessions, the youth’s file is updated to reflect that.

“As the parents progress through the sessions, staff members may reach out to schedule a virtual meeting with them and their youth to discuss how the Texas Model strategies have impacted them,” says Lisa Broussard, TJJD’s Director of Texas Model Leadership Development. “The youth can share which regulation tools are working and which portions of the Texas Model programming might be helpful upon returning home.”

That first training series ended in mid-February, and as a result of the positive response, the training will be offered four times each year. The current session will begin April 12, 2022 and run through May 17 on Tuesday nights from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Later sessions will be held from July 12 through August 16 and from October 11 through November 15. Any parent or caregiver who is interested in attending one of the free training sessions is encouraged to reach out to their case manager to register. Find out more on the Texas Model Training page.

The aim of TJJD is that each youth committed to the agency’s temporary care will leave with a fresh outlook and a sound plan for future success, and that these training sessions will go a long way toward helping the youth meet that goal. This will in turn lead toward safer communities.