Children’s Aid and Family Services – WISE Families Program

Partner Overview

The WISE program is a partnership of Children’s Aid and Family Services and Wynona’s House Child Advocacy center in Newark. WISE is an evidence-based program that was developed by Barbara Bonner and her colleagues at the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Child Abuse and Neglect to help families with children ages 8 – 15 who have problems with sexual boundaries. It provides assessment, education, treatment and prevention to both the parents and the children. Families are in treatment for approximately 16 – 18 weeks. Each family participates in group counseling based on a comprehensive, evidence-based curriculum. Individual, family and peer group sessions are held as well.

Most programs that address sexual behavior concerns are victim-focused. WISE is unique because it works with the youth with sexual behavior problems and their caregivers. Families receive support to communicate more effectively with one another and identify underlying issues they need to address. WISE reduces the possibility of problematic behaviors in the children, helping to divert them from the juvenile justice system or placement into foster or residential care.

Services continue to be provided during the pandemic. Telehealth sessions are held using a family model instead of group treatment. The youth and caregivers are engaged in individual and family therapy sessions.

Service Overview

Children’s Aid and Family Services strengthens families and empowers individuals – children and adults alike – to reach their fullest potential. Motivated by compassion and in partnership with the community, we make positive lasting differences in the lives of those we serve. We provide high-quality, innovative services to children, adults, and their families that advance social, educational and emotional development and wellbeing.