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              The symbolic family network aims to expand the ties and attachments

              between caretaking teens and their individual neighborhood children

              who are at risk through arranging them into small groups representing

              metaphoric families.


Within these symbolic families children can
begin to experience a sense of belonging,
acceptance, and connection that is important in winning their cooperation, developing their social feeling and identifying with pro-social attitudes and behavior. This means that neighborhood children and their specific caretakers become special groups or "families" where they can be coached to exert a collective and positive influence on each other.






Caretaker training is an essential component in the systems' effectiveness. Training in parenting and communication skills for all caretakers on a weekly basis is buttressed by an ongoing therapeutic group for the teen caretakers' own needs and maturation. Such a growth group offers a social support structure and a peer influence for the caretaker system in its own right.



Next: The Family Circle


Copyright © 2004 UNITAS Therapeutic Community, Inc.