All Programs and Services

–  A Better Choice Adolescent Outpatient Substance Abuse Program (ABC)


A Better Choice Adolescent Outpatient Substance Abuse Program (ABC) is an adolescent outpatient substance abuse program that individually tailors treatment plans to address all aspects of a teen’s life—healthy body, mind and spirit. ABC gives youth and teens the skills and knowledge to make A Better Choice for themselves and improves their ability to function and lead healthy productive lives in our community. Professional services are rendered by a multi-disciplinary, multi-lingual, master’s level clinical team, licensed therapists and licensed alcohol and drug abuse clinicians.

Program Brochure

+  Caregiver Support Team

Caregiver Support Team (CST) is an intensive, home-based program, supporting relative caregivers of children who have been placed in a DCF kinship or special study home.

This DCF funded program aims to prevent disruption of foster care placements and increase stability and  permanency by providing timely, in-home therapeutic interventions.

Referrals are made through DCF and can remain open for 6 months. Pre-adoptive homes may qualify for services with additional approval from DCF

+  Child First

Child First develops nurturing, consistent, and responsive parent-child relationships. 

Child First is a national, evidence-based, two generation model that works with very vulnerable young children and families, providing intensive, home-based services.

When young children grow up in environments where there is violence, neglect, mental illness or substance abuse, the stress can be toxic to their developing brains. But we can intervene to prevent this damage. Scientific research demonstrates that we can make a difference if we:

  • Work to connect families to needed community-based services to decrease the stress, and
  • Build strong, loving, parent-child relationships that protect and heal the brain from trauma and stress. Our goal is a young brain focused on learning rather than a brain focused on survival.

+  Child Guidance Centers

Family & Children’s Aid Child Guidance Centers provide outpatient behavioral health and substance abuse services to children and families in Connecticut. Our staff of child psychiatrists, masters-level licensed therapists and psychiatric nurse practitioners provide individual and group therapeutic counseling to address the psychological, behavioral, developmental and social well being of the children we treat. Recognizing the unique cultural needs of the communities we serve, our staff is proficient in three languages English, Spanish, and Portuguese. 

Child Guidance Center Locations

80 West Street, Danbury


30 Holmes Avenue, Waterbury


325 Danbury Road, New Milford



+  Extended Day Treatment Program (Extend)

Extend is a therapeutic after school program for at-risk children with emotional and behavioral difficulties. Extend focuses on teaching children skills to strengthen self-esteem, manage ADHD, and improve relationships through group, individual and family therapy. Extend encourages active participation of parents. Extend provides support for children transitioning home from residential placements and those who struggle behaviorally and emotionally at school.

+  Fit Kids

Fit Kids is an 8-week multidisciplinary program in conjunction with Danbury Hospital and the YMCA designed to support parents and their children as they work towards a healthier lifestyle. Through physical education, nutrition and behavioral support, families receive the expertise they need to begin their journey towards healthy behaviors and lifestyles.  
Program Basics
Fit FamilyFamily & Children’s Aid Life is Good Play Makers™ Program uses the power of play to transform children into enthusiastic players in the game of life so that they can reach their full potential and successfully meet life’s biggest challenges. Playmakers helps kids increase their self-esteem and to develop self-control and persistence. Play is how children form healthy attachments, discover the world around them, and develop a foundation of competence, self-worth, and joy that can impact them for a lifetime.
The Regional YMCA provides nutritional education. Parents and children attend Nutrition sessions which will cover label reading, portion control, how to build a healthy plate and hidden sugars. The children and parents practice newly learned nutrition skills at home. The Nutrition portion of the program also includes a consultation with a Registered Dietitian.  
The Regional YMCA also provides Physical Activity through bi-weekly fitness sessions and a FREE 12-week fitness membership to the YMCA. Children receive 45 minutes of physical activity with a trained Fitness Specialist from the YMCA. Through games and exercises, children learn that being active can be fun and become more confident in their abilities outside of the program. Some weeks activities include both parents and children.  

At this time the program is accepting referrals of children ages 9 to 12 years of age.  

In order to participate in the program, parents must accompany their children to the weekly sessions and be willing to be active participants. 

Children who are obese have a greater chance of becoming obese adults. In addition, children who are obese have a greater risk of the following: 

  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep Problems
  • Respiratory Problems
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem

If you are concerned about your child’s weight and whether he or she may be at risk for obesity, speak to your child’s physician to learn more about this program and to get a referral. 

+  Grandparents as Parents Support Group (GAPS)

Grandparents as Parents Support Group offer psycho education and support for grandparents raising their grandchildren.

Monthly speakers provide current information on issues relevant to these families.

+  Harmony House Shelter for Homeless Mothers and Children

Harmony House provides temporary round the clock housing for up to 16 homeless mothers and their children. Residents stay for an average of 90 days. Harmony House empowers women by providing them with the skills and resources needed to maintain a more stable life for their families and achieve the goal of living independently. FCA staff works with the mothers to help them gain employment, further their education and develop the necessary skills to live independently.

+  Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services (IICAPS)

IICAPS is an intensive, home-based treatment program designed by the Yale Child Study Center for children who have psychiatric disorders and whose families need assistance maintaining their child at home safely. Utilizing a community-based approach a clinical team, consisting of a master level clinician and a bachelor level mental health worker, works with the child, family and school system to stabilize and support child in the home. Children appropriate for IICAPS have experienced psychiatric hospitalization, at-risk for residential placement or hospitalization, or in need of a higher level of support than traditional outpatient treatment can provide. Services are provided in-home, multiple times each week over a six-month period.  

+  Life is Good Playmakers

Life is Good Tree of Optimism
Growing Super Powers

Life is Good Playmakers champions the healing power of play to help kids overcome psychiatric trauma. Family & Children’s Aid staff have been trained, as Life is Good Playmakers. The Playmaker philosophy is embraced across all methods of treatment at FCA. Playmakers use specially developed activities in structured playgroups to rebuild a sense of safety, community, connection, imagination and wonder in children. Through joyful play, children experience greater connection with their caregivers, parents, and peers, develop a sense of competence and self-worth, and learn to express their feelings in healthy, productive ways. To participate in Playmakers the child must be an active client in a Family & Children's Aid program.

+  Multi-Disciplinary Investigation Team (MIT)

Multi-Disciplinary Investigation Team (MIT) is made up of a group of professionals from varying disciplines working together on cases involving criminal level child sexual abuse, serious physical abuse and neglect. Team members are trained specialist who meet regularly to discuss individual cases, identify system needs, work cooperatively to improve the investigation and possible prosecution of cases, and to protect the children from further trauma.

+  Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)

Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is an evidence based in-home family therapy program developed for adolescents (ages 9-18) with substance abuse and/or related behavioral and emotional difficulties. A broad intervention addressing all domains of the youth's environment, MDFT focuses first on individual therapy for the adolescent and the parent(s), then whole family engagement which may extend to include people from other areas of the adolescent’s life like peers, teachers, or juvenile justice representatives. Clinicians work with the adolescent and family for 3 to 6 months to improve family functioning, reduce symptoms, and enhance problem solving skills in order to promote positive long-term change.

+  Parent Net

Parent Net offers a parent skills curriculum providing parenting education, support, and skill development. Evening and weekend classes with childcare are conducted in English, Spanish and Portuguese for all parents of children from birth to 18 years.

+  Parenting Support Services

Parenting Support Services is a home-based program that helps young people develop emotional self-regulation skills through positive parenting skill development, teaches caregivers to be resourceful problem solvers.

The program ranges from "light-touch" parenting help to highly targeted interventions for at-risk families. In addition, program staff educate caregivers about additional community resources available to them.

+  PeaceLove Expressive Art Program

The PeaceLove Expressive Arts Program is a six-week curriculum utilizing creative expression to help people with mental illness minimize symptoms, create peace and express concepts not easily expressed with words.

PeaceLove explores feelings and communicates experiences through art, writing and music. It is not about ability or technique. There are no right or wrong answers. In expressive art, whatever you create or feel is ok.

PeaceLove offers the children we treat a new, non-judgmental way to express themselves, explore their feelings and communicate emotions too difficult to convey in words.

+  Reunification and Therapeutic Family Time (RTFT)

An evidence-informed program funded by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for the families of children in out-of-home placements or foster care. RTFT aids DCF in determining family readiness for reunification, coaches parents/primary caregivers on parenting skills, and works with the child, biological family and foster family as a team to support a healthy, successful transition and achieve a higher rate of reunification permanency.

+  Short-term Family Integrated Treatment (S-FIT)

The Short-term Family Integrated Treatment (S-FIT) is a short-term residential treatment option providing crisis stabilization and assessment, with rapid reintegration and transition back home. The primary goal of the program is to: stabilize the youth and family (adoptive, biological, foster, kin, relative) and their extended social system; assess the family’s current strengths and needs; identify and mobilize community resources; and, coordinate services to ensure rapid reintegration into the home. It is an alternative to psychiatric hospitalizations and admissions to higher levels of care, and diverts placement disruptions. The program serves DCF involved children and adolescents ages 12-17 with the ability to seek a waiver through DCF licensing for children under the age of 12.

This service may also provide brief and temporary structured therapeutic care (respite) for children and adolescents ages 12-17 with the ability to seek a waiver through DCF licensing for children under the age of 12. This may include periods of time during the day or overnight. Respite will be available to children or youth who have been suspended from school and require structured day time programming for a brief period of time, and also youth who are currently waiting for a placement match to be made that day.

+  Therapeutic Foster Care

Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) is a high level of foster care that is provided to children who have experienced trauma and are in need of a home. TFC serves children between the ages of 6 and 17 years old needing a foster care placement to offer stability and security because their biological families are unable to fully provide for them. Family and Children's Aid licenses homes for Foster/Adoptive Care and Short-term Respite Care. FCA places these children within a safe, supportive and nurturing family environment that offers a child the greatest chance of success.  FCA Foster Care families receive comprehensive training and 24/7 support to help manage a child successfully. We utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment that values the child's unique potential emphasizing innovative programming, teamwork, and clinical excellence. A Therapeutic Foster Parent is part of the child's team of professionals who are working together to help a child succeed.

+  Therapeutic Adolescent Group Home for Boys

The Therapeutic Group home for boys provides a safe, home-like environment for young men ages 14 to 21. These young men come from long-term hospitalization and residential treatment programs entering the home with complex psychiatric and behavioral disorders.

With the aid of the staff of Family & Children's Aid, the boys work together in overcoming past traumas, developing life skills, becoming involved in the community, gaining independence and developing goals towards future success outside of the program. Residents are admitted through DCF referral.

+  Therapeutic Adolescent Group Home for Girls

The Therapeutic Group home for girls provides a safe, home-like environment for young women ages 14 to 21. These young women come from long-term hospitalization and residential treatment programs entering the home with complex psychiatric and behavioral disorders.

With the aid of Family & Children's Aid's staff, the girls work together in overcoming past traumas, developing life skills, becoming involved in the community, gaining independence and developing goals towards future success outside of the program. Residents are admitted through DCF referral.

+  Torrington Foster Care and Adoption Support Group

A monthly, facilitated support group for post-license foster and adoptive families in the greater Torrington area. Training, guidance, support, education, information and social events are offered. Free childcare is provided for children up to age 18 with food, play supplies, and a forum for socialization while the foster parents meet.