Brandon finds his "Forever Home" through LifeShare's Services, Support, and Advocacy
(FL) — From group homes, institutions, and multiple foster home placements never lasting more than three months, Brandon spent two successful years with LifeShare supports through the organization’s Therapeutic Foster Care program. Then that magic moment came for 13-year-old Brandon when he was adopted and found his “forever home.”
It was only two years ago that Brandon arrived at his LifeShare foster home wearing mismatched socks and just the clothes on his back.
Although he didn’t come with literal “baggage,” he certainly came with experiences that included five unsuccessful home placements within the previous six months and several instances where Florida's Baker Act was enacted. The Act allows for involuntary hospital admission of an individual where there is evidence that the person is a danger to themselves or others and hospitalization is deemed necessary for safety.
LifeShare foster parents, Peter and Barbara Owen, were not to be deterred, even though one instance of the implementation of the Baker Act occurred while Brandon was living with them and he threatened to harm himself while at school.
Brandon had been labeled as a “behavior problem,” having been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and bipolar disorder. He was on numerous medications that didn't prevent outbursts or diminish his behavioral issues. He fell behind in his studies at school.
In order to help Brandon deal with all of the concerns that were impacting his life, his LifeShare treatment team and foster family collaborated as a single unit and took an in-depth look at where he was and how he could be better supported.
LifeShare's Rapid Crisis Response System (RCRS) team and Targeted Case Management Services worked quickly to conduct an evaluation and provide recommendations that everyone who worked with Brandon was involved with.
With LifeShare's urging, Brandon's psychiatrist and his foster family switched to a behavior therapy approach using behavior modification; implementing a reward system for desired behaviors.
Brandon's biggest desire? To go on vacation with his foster family (not a viable option previously) and catch a fish in the ocean.
In addition to using a behavioral therapy technique, Brandon's medications were modified, and his team successfully advocated for a psychological evaluation so he could be placed in a school that would best meet his needs.
Changes in his behavior were immediate. His foster family negotiated with him. If Brandon worked really hard at meeting his treatment goals, they would make sure he got that vacation he so wanted.
His behaviors decreased significantly, and he reacted positively to his new medication. He was successful at implementing the coping mechanisms he learned.
“Brandon was forming healthy coping mechanisms that helped his behavior. He was proud of his accomplishment, and he formed a close bond with his foster parents. I was so proud of him, as well as our entire team," said his Residential Mental Health Targeted Case Manager.
The best part is that Brandon and his family went on vacation where he had the time of his life — and caught the big one!
Said Florida State Director Lauryn Orozco, "RCRS really helped stabilize this young man and prevent him from having a placement disruption and inpatient admissions."
Brandon’s LifeShare foster parents, as well as the LifeShare staff, are overjoyed that he now has his “forever family.”
“Brandon worked really hard with our staff and his foster family over the past two years and this is the best outcome we could ever have hoped for,” said Orozco.
Congratulations to Brandon and his new family.
To learn about LifeShare's Rapid Crisis Response System (RCRS), Targeted Case Management, and Therapeutic Foster Care, contact Florida State Director Lauryn Orozco at (239) 257-1504 or FL@lifeshareusa.com.
Dedicated to the preservation and safeguarding of civil and human rights, LifeShare’s motto is “Real Life for Real People.” Founded in 1995, LifeShare continues its mission to create empowering home and community-based supports for people with developmental disabilities, children in the child welfare system and people of all ages and abilities, particularly those who are often marginalized by society. LifeShare offers a range of services including residential, community-based and in-home support programs, competitive employment, as well as mental health services for children and adults.
A national organization headquartered in Manchester, NH, LifeShare currently provides services in seven states (NH, ME, RI, FL, AZ, GA, SC) and also consults with Medicaid Managed Care organizations, commercial insurers and state governments. For more information, visit www.lifeshareusa.com or call 603-625-8825.