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 Frequently Asked Questions
FamilyLight:  Successor to Bridge to Understanding

Q:  Will Family Light provide service by the hour or on any other basis other than services packaged as described in "Individual Services?"


A:  No. We are frequently approached for this. However Tom Croke, our consultant, does not have confidence in his work apart from providing the entire package, especially including meeting the young person of interest in person. Our experience has been that families that purchase our services "a la carte" generally leave something out making a successful outcome less likely.  


We are developing information in our "Programs and More" section of this website to assist families that do not want to invest in our full package of services.  We hope to develop much more sophisticated  on-line services to assist families more simply.  


Q:  What if we have son or daughter who is not at home, such as in a hospital or in a program?


A:  We can adjust to a the location where the young person is located. We will go to the place where the young person is, preferably with parents present, as would be true in a Home Visit.   Hospitals and boarding schools almost invariably cooperate with this.  Most wilderness programs will accommodate a visit from  our consultant but will not allow that to include parents. In that case, Tom will go to the wilderness himself.  A separate in-person visit to parents can be arranged as an option.  Parents will be responsible for travel expense but there is no additional fee if the visit to parents is immediately before or after the visit to the young person. 


Q:  I have a fifteen year old son who is unlikely to cooperate with a home visit.  How do we make that visit happen in a meaningful way? 


 A:  We have found that this is never a major problem.   Very rarely, we will refer a client to a short term program and meet the client there if we believe the usual home visit presents safety issues.  This happens much less frequently than most parents expect and less than we expected prior to becoming experienced with home visits.  Since 1993, we have had only two occasions where we had no opportunity to assess a teen or young adult during a home visit.  The first was right after we started, our consultant saw him exit over the back fence.  What went wrong there would not go wrong as we now do things.   As of this writing, nineteen years have passed without a repeat.   In the other case, the teenager was injured in an accident as our consultant was driving to her home.  In that case we met with parents and returned later for a visit including the teen. 

We do occasionally encounter an oppositional teenager who does not cooperate with the home visit procedure.   However, that has become extremely rare since our last modification of our home visit procedure and in these situations the manner in which the teen demonstrates opposition generally tells us what we need to know to help the family plan ahead. 

For more information on how we make this work out so well (to the extent that we understand it ourselves) click here and read on.    Truly, we do not fully understand why this works as well as it does.  The parts we do understand is that we want the teen or young adult informed that this is a consultation for the parents;  no one should describe the consultant as a person sent to "help" him or her -- except in the rare case the young person is taking initiative to ask for help for him or for her and that young person will immediately understand our involvement as a direct response to his or her explicit request.    Young people view the word "help" as a code word for "control" and it must be avoided.  Then the young person wants to know "If this is for parents why must I participate?"   Answer:  "So your side of the story is told."   We think the rest of the story is that the young people are too curious to stay away.   In all cases except the two cited above, the young people, even if not cooperative, have been hanging around with some visibility.  Since we re-formatted our home visit procedure a few years ago, every person for whom we have had a home visit has been fully cooperative if they have come into the room where we meet at all.  We are currently unable to recall the last young person in a home visit situation who was not cooperative.  It has certainly been over a year ago and we think quite a bit longer.

Q:  What do you charge for your package of services?  

A:  We do not publish our fee structure online but will discuss fees if you phone us.  We do charge a substantial fee for our package of services as is appropriate to any quality professional service.  Given the cost of most of the schools and programs to which we refer, our fees are minor in comparison.  We believe in most cases, we prevent our clients from spending unnecessarily to an extent greater than our fees. 

Our service package includes a detailed records review, a home visit, and unlimited contact by phone, email, fax, and/or Skype, as is relevant to our stated expertise, for six months.  Expenses for travel for the home visit and any other travel specific to you is billed separately.  For more detail on how we render this service, click here.

In situations where we can be of genuine help to someone who cannot afford our fees we will adjust them.  We do not want anyone to be denied help on account of inability to pay us. But usually people who cannot pay our fee cannot pay for schools and programs we recommend.  But if our service will be meaningful and helpful, we will ensure it is available.

Last update August 15, 2012


                                        "Solutions, Not Just Referrals"

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