We are dedicated to prevention at MountainStar. Sometimes we're providing help to families whose children are safe; they just need help to keep things that way. Other times, we are the last step before foster care. No matter what, our highest priority is each child's health and safety.
WHO WE SERVE
Most families who enroll with MountainStar are living in crisis with a whole host of issues that, together, create such toxic stress that they can't function healthfully. They may be homeless, unemployed or not making enough to put food on the table consistently. They may be struggling with mental illness or substance dependence - often both. Some of the parents in our program are victims of domestic violence, or survivors of past physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Within our first few interactions with a family, we assess how many of these different "risk factors" a family is dealing with. The average is 13. Some are as high as 40.
We connect with vulnerable local families through word of mouth, referrals from doctors, social workers, law enforcement, and partner agencies. No matter how they reach us, parents volunteer to be a part of our program because they want the best for their kids. We think that's profound — parents reaching out to a child abuse prevention program for help. That's why we are committed to offering our services in a non-judgemental and compassionate way.
Check out the video below for an overview of MountainStar.
HOW WE HELP
We provide families with support in a variety of areas so that parents can create a safe and healthy environment for children and address the root cause of problems affecting the family situation. Families in all of our programs receive:
Crisis intervention and support
Home visits once a month or more
Individualized parent coaching
Mental health therapy for kids + adults
Parent training classes + family activities
Basic needs (food, diapers, clothing)
Connections to community resources
Transportation for visits, classes, etc.
OUR DIFFERENT PROGRAMS
1) FAMILY RELIEF NURSERY — our flagship programs
Therapeutic Early Childhood Program
We offer therapeutic classes for babies and toddlers to help them heal from the effects of living in chaos and being mistreated. Our highly trained staff lovingly care for each child, giving them the one-on-one attention they crave and the boost toward development they desperately need. Two and three-year-olds come to class twice a week for three hours, and infants come once per week. Class time is integrated with home visits and individualized parent coaching. Ours is a labor-intensive model; families receive 300+ contact hours per year. But, we're happy to report that this is a solution that really prevents child abuse and neglect. Read about our results here.
This used to be called our waiting list or Safety Net Program. As we've grown, it's become possible for MountainStar to help families who are not in our therapeutic classroom program. The Outreach Program allows families to pick and choose services that fit their needs. Some parents are open to home visits, others just want a box of diapers here and there. Some want to get their child into our classes, others are engaging as much as they can. We look to the highest need and most-likely-to-succeed families in the Outreach Program when a spot opens in our therapeutic classrooms.
2) ENHANCED VISITATION — for families with children in foster care
MountainStar’s Enhanced Visitation program helped families after children have been placed in foster care. Parents (who no longer have custody) are able to spend quality time with their children in a safe, supervised, and home-like environment at our visitation centers in Bend, Redmond, Madras, and Prineville.
MountainStar staff began supervising visits for families in the foster care system in 2012 through a contract with the Department of Human Services (DHS)/Child Welfare. Visits in our family-friendly centers reduced the likelihood of emotional triggers that can get in the way of a family moving forward. Over the years, staff worked with 580 children in Oregon’s foster care system and supervised over 4,500 visits. The Enhanced Visitation Services project ended this February due to funding instability through DHS.
We appreciate the many people who support children and parents in this tough situation including; the staff who took our project across the finish line - Chris Griffith, Kathie Craig, and Ed Nichols, the staff at DHS/Child Welfare who do this work every day, and the staff and volunteers in programs such as Mary’s Place, CASA, Every Child Central Oregon, J Bar J programs, Family Resource Center, Foster Parent support groups, and Westside Church. Children in foster care deserve the best of what we can offer and it comes down to the people who chose to get involved.