Systemic Therapy Empowerment Program (STEP)

Reuniting Foster Children with Families

CV’s STEP provides support to foster care youth who are being discharged from residential treatment or therapeutic foster boarding homes and reuniting with their families.

Nationally, the rate of failure of reunifications is 15% in the first year the children are home.  The Children’s Village STEP Program was designed to beat those odds by supporting the family during this difficult transition, helping them build on their strengths and make changes where needed in home, school, community, and peers.  STEP is flexible, providing individualized treatment to families using treatment techniques such as behavior parent training, natural consequences for youth, Structural Family Therapy, and Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

STEP staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offer flexible scheduling for families, and work with families right in their homes. The program provide safety for the family, develops a joint relationship between worker and the family, provides the family with easier access to needed services, and increases the likelihood that the family will maintain treatment and changes in behavior.  STEP workers are able to provide intensive services because of small caseloads. Workers make frequent visits, stay as long as required and come at times most convenient to the family, including weekends and evenings.

Therapeutic contacts emphasize the positive and use systemic strengths as levers for change. STEP is a strength-based treatment program and adherence to this principle decreases negativity among family members, builds positive expectations and hope, identifies strengths, and decreases therapist and family frustrations by emphasizing problem-solving


Out of every hundred children who return home to families from foster care, 15 go back into foster care in the first year.  From 2007 to 2010, the STEP program served 245 foster care children and 94.6% returned home and remained home successfully.

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