MFS-Calumet program combines therapy and case management to promising effect

Get IN Chicago will continue funding T.A.K.E. Charge, a program from Metropolitan Family Services (MFS) that provides targeted case management and clinical supports to youth ages 13- 18 years living in a high-crime area of Roseland.  In an environment severely impacted by poverty, gangs, drugs, and violence, youth residing here are less likely to have the protective internal and external supports they need to counter negative impacts.

T.A.K.E. Charge aims to decrease youth’s risk-taking behaviors while building their academic success, social emotional skills, and peer, family, and community networks.   A community-based program, T.A.K.E. Charge utilizes evidence-informed interventions with a focus on trauma-informed case management, therapy, and restorative justice.

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Participants gained government insights as part of college and career exploration and tours

In its first year, MFS experienced significant success, reaching more than 200 participants.   The MFS team reported the following outcomes between September 2015-June 2016:

  • 95% of the youth participating in peace circles demonstrated the ability to solve problems and reduce conflict and aggression after the post survey was administered.
  • 100% of youth showed improvement post survey in willingness to practice restorative justice strategies as a means to improve peer and family relationships.
  • 90% of the youth engaged in clinical services improved symptoms and functioning.
  • 100% of youth made progress in at least one goal set during the program.
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Youth participated in a series of peace circles with the 5th District Police Department in conjunction with “Bridging the Divide”

Efforts to engage youth through restorative justice practices were particularly strong in starting dialogues between youth and police officers in Roseland.  Events with the 5th district police department included obstacle course challenges, basketball games, peace circles, and more, in collaboration with Bridging the Divide.  Youth and their families also participated in service days, peace marches, college and career tours, and job workshops.

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At the 3rd Annual Faith and Action event, all the clients, staff and partners wrote wishes for the community on cards that were released with balloons.


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Success Story:

Deandra* joined T.A.K.E. Charge and immediately started working with a case manager to better understand her needs.  After Deandra disclosed prior instances of cutting, suicidal thoughts, and familial conflict, the case manager connected her with a T.A.K.E. Charge clinical therapist.  The therapist soon observed that both Deandra and her mother were grieving the loss of her grandfather, and that grief was manifesting to impact their relationship and Deandra’s health. The therapist also determined that Deandra’s mother was in need of financial assistance and help with her lease after receiving a 14 day notice. Working together, the case manager and therapist connected Deandra’s family with property management to assist with the immediate need of maintaining housing and continued to engage both \ in case management and therapy.

As a result of their involvement with T.A.K.E. Charge, Deandra and her mother are now fighting less and becoming closer.  Deandra is also communicating more openly and, each day, becoming a more active participant in all aspects of the T.A.K.E. Charge program. Additionally, Deandra has starting taking her  new skills and applying them at home and school.  As a result of her work, Deandra earned a summer employment position at a fast food restaurant and really enjoyed the experience – one that she may not have been fully prepared to embrace before joining T.A.K.E. Charge.

*name changed

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MFS youth played a friendly but competitive game of basketball against the 5th district police department at an event in June. The police department won 60-47.