When Nancy started helping kids & families in the court system, there was no other alternative.
Court-ordered counseling wasn’t a thing. There wasn’t a way for juveniles to avoid jail. There was just Nancy – and 3 employees she’d hired to their new agency, determined to make a difference.
They firmly believed that providing services to families in their home would be more effective; that they could meet these kids and these parents where their needs were. The goal: always, always to keep families intact, as much as possible. They became a one-stop shop, offering therapy services, home-based services, and supervision, as well as juvenile programs.
They do as much as they can. In their county, they are the largest agency sent families and juveniles by the courts; they take as many as staffing and scheduling allow. Occasionally they have to turn referrals away; with so many evening duties as part of the job, sometimes they run out of staff available to do another evening to get a supervised visitation done.
But the success is undeniable. In the last few years, a new program emerged for juvenile detention in their state. Kids who had committed a minor offense have a choice to go to an alternate program that Nancy’s agency supports. Every day, five days, 3 PM to 7PM, and Saturday for another five hours, they do community activities, cooking, and volunteering – all to keep them busy and get them acclimated to the community. “We’ve had quite a bit of success with that,” Nancy says with no small amount of pride.
Yet paperwork nearly shut them down a few years ago.
Nancy’s agency used to get paid by the county, on a per-patient basis. Some years ago, the state took over that duty – but everything got more complicated. They’d bill 100,000 hours and get 10 of them paid. Payroll was late, then later. Nancy tried to get a loan, but the banks she talked to weren’t interested.
Finally, frustrated beyond belief, Nancy asked her mom for help – and got a loan that kept her in business, but barely. Other agencies in the state weren’t so lucky; experiencing the same issues, many shut their doors.
It was her tax lawyer, helping her with bankruptcy, that told her about Far West Capital. Working with us, she was able to get the state to process invoices electronically and able to control her cashflow enough not to worry about payroll.
“It’s really been a blessing. It’s a great weight off my shoulders,” Nancy says.
These days, her agency needs the blessing. They’re facing a challenge that grows bigger every day: families that are involved in substance abuse. These families – often addicted to opioids – are often the ones with the least chance of reunification with their children, frustrating Nancy’s ability to help.
But they’re trying. Before Far West Capital stepped in, they had had to move – cramming the youth program and the young child programs in the same space. Basketball competed with kindergarten games; problems kept coming up with rambunctious teenagers in the same space as 4-year-olds.
A few weeks ago, with their cashflow stable, Nancy rented a warehouse. She’s excited – the warehouse has office space, but also a basketball goal, a pingpong table. Separate spaces for the teenagers and the little kids. There’s a kitchen they can use in cooking classes with the teenagers, a garden, and plenty of outside space.
The work Nancy does is never easy, and getting harder. 150 families depend on what they do every day. But she’s paid her mom back; she’s no longer worrying about how she’ll pay her employees, and the teenagers can play basketball safely. That, in Nancy’s book, is success.
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