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Programs and More
  Successor to "Bridge to Understanding
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This page was formerly "Online Info/Support;" We're in the process of changing.  Not all menus leading to this page have been changed. 


This page was moved to archive on April 3, 2013.   The current version of this page was created accurately on that date.   Information on this page is obsolete.  Some of our hopes for future development show on this page but were deleted from the current page.   You may see them described here.

FamilyLightsm is progressing with developing the indispensible online guide to services families with young people who face extra challenges. At this time we have valuable information for both parents and referring professionals to guide them through a search process for a school or program. 

Tom Croke, our consultant says, "Many people have suggested that I  write a book based upon my experience.  This is the book. You see it as it is being written."

See what is new on this website!

To get direction on how to approach the task of searching for a school or program, click on Search Guide.  Here we have suggestions  for parents who want to become consumers of the services that are our concern here.  When you read Search Guide, you will learn why we think that might have been a bad choice for the name of the page.  Search Guide is still being developed. It is more helpful than yesterday, but not as good as it will be tomorrow.  There is already extensive information about choosing the services you will purchase.

A secondary issue is to help parents to understand how much is involved making these decisions effectively to get the results that are desired. When this website is fully developed, and it is not there yet, we sincerely hope and expect that there will be sufficient guidance to permit a parent, or even a new professional coming into this line of work,  to develop a plan and purchase services wisely just on the basis of what is on this website and the other websites to which we link. 

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Fast Approach to Existing On-line Resources

If you are searching on-line and not accessing individual professional guidance, (or you are a professional looking for help) please use our on-line support.  If you want an individual professional consultant, please consider what we might offer you.  As other professionals contribute to this website, we hope you will consider their resources as well.

Start with the Search Guide page to give you the steps you must follow to search effectively, although the name might be misleading, as you will see when you follow the link above. Search Guide now provides a good outline of the steps needed to result in a quality decision.  (We acknowledge that completing that will require detail that is not there yet).  From Search Guide you can navigate to our Determining Need page, our Guidelines , and Pleasant Surprises sections. The Guidelines, while always subject to revision, are now in completed form.

We are currently focused on expanding Program Reviews.  Here is where you will get straight talk about quality.  We are starting with strong emphasis on schools and programs we highly respect.  Tough talk on corrections needed will come later, but it will come and some of that is already here.

Determining Need now has an outline of how to understand the needs of a young person for whom you seek services.  Much detail will be added to Determining Need as this website becomes more comprehensive.

In describing resources, we intend to hold a very high standard of accountability while being fair.  We know of no other Internet resource doing that.  Others (including some of very great benefit and high integrity) are  extremely cautious about challenging schools and programs.  Some others are either concealed marketing devices promoting a specific provider while posing as a neutral referral source. Still others are simply propaganda machines for shutting down the entire care giving profession or industry.

FamilyLight sm will link to other web resources, encourage critique of our work on our website, promote debate and discussion in good taste, and decline all advertising. (In the far distant future, we may accept advertising from businesses that have no connection to the schools, programs, and other services we write about)   At some point we will charge a nominal fee for access to some areas of this website, but as we bring this up to speed, it will be a free resource. 

Our long term purpose is to create a resource that will accomplish four major goals:

     1. Provide a guide to resources that will reliably assist families who are considering use of schools and treatment resources while using the web as principal source of information. (This goal is partially achieved)

     2. Provide a mutual support service for families in crisis. (This goal will be addressed later)

     3. Provide in-depth assistance to professionals assisting clients, such as mental health professionals and other consultants. (This goal is partially achieved)

     4. Provide consumers with an opportunity to "Sample" the work of FamilyLightsm and contributing professionals before engaging services.  (This goal is currently achieved)

Toward those goals, this section will contain:

   1. A search guide that offers a solid advice for people attempting to find ther resources they need only from the web without personalized professional assistance.   A portion of this is our Guidelines section, proposing standards that we want service providers to meet. At this time the Guidelines are ready (subject to ongoing update).  

     2. A directory of services. This will begin with schools and residential treatment services generally utilized by educational consultants. It will expand to listings of resources as comprehensively as possible. When this is initially posted, it will be a simple list. We hope to upgrade it gradually to a searchable database. We are uncertain of a timeline, but currently anticipate three versions in the future:

       a.  A Microsoft Excel version, so that anyone with this widely available software can  have a downloadable edition they can personalize for their own use.  We hope to have a procedure for those who have personalized their version of the Excel data base, so that users can download updates without disturbing personalized information. A  preliminary draft version is currently available. This is currently without charge, and we expect to  continue to update that.

      b. A Microsoft Access version, which will have maximum search capabilities, and the ability to further personalize.  There will be programming to support personalization and to allow updates from FamilyLightsm that do not disturb personalization. There may be a fee for this. "Personalization" means that you could add your own notations, and expand our data base into your own, where you would see your own data base on your computer with your private entries seamlessly integrated into our publicly available data base/directory.

      c. An online version requiring the user to have no special software. This will likely have a fee attached. We hope to devise a method of personalization on this version.

     3. Articles, commentary, reviews of schools and programs, references to books and websites of interest.

     4. A section that will include the above items that will be organized to guide parents step by step through web searches for resources, in fulfillment of goal 1 above. When in good order, this section will be accessed by fee, but while under development will be free of charge.  You can currently access the beginnings of this at no charge.

     5. Parents Supporting Parents – a moderated forum of parents reaching out to each other. We hope this will not just be about families in crisis, but parents doing their best to help each other improve quality of life for all children, teens, young adults, and their families. This will grow into our virtual support community. See next item.

     6. A virtual support community. This is a major project that is more long range. A step beyond a moderated forum, this will be a virtual community of people sharing their strength and hope in improving quality of life for all families. People participating in this will be carefully screened and will operate at a level of trust and mutual interaction that exceeds typical chat room and online discussions.

     7. A section of primary interest to professionals, accessible by fee.  

     8. A "Links" section grouping all external links together.  Every link will appear somewhere else on the website in text where there is material that might prompt a move to the link at issue.  In addition, all links will show here.

     9. Services of immediate interest to young people.  Frankly, we will begin with services for parents and professionals.  We hope to expand this to incorporate information and networking young people will appreciate. One intended project is online support for young people, especially those returning from treatment.

Feedback is invited. We will publish feedback in good taste, consistent with our standards.  Email

Disclaimer: No  program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation.  When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree.  When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source.  We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance.  It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines.  Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.


We do not specifically endorse UK Shopping. They "sponsor" our counter. 

Last updated  July 12, 2009; Counter added June 2, 2010





















"Solutions, Not Just Referrals"


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