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The purpose of the Guided Family Intervention Project (GFIP) is to address family conflicts with reconciliation rather than judicial intervention. Using “brief therapy” techniques, the program examines underlying family issues at the root of juvenile status offenses. Resolving these issues frequently diverts clients from further involvement in the criminal justice system. Once a family has been referred by the prosecutor’s office, a Master’s level therapist will work with them to develop effective strategies to address their youth’s criminal inclinations. (Typical offenses that result in GFIP referral are running away from home, incorrigible behavior (acting out), and truancy issues.)

If a family is an appropriate match for the program, they are asked to participate in 4-6 sessions. To successfully complete the program, families must attend all required sessions on a consistent basis. Families must also be open to a real therapeutic intervention. If clients are not open to change, change cannot occur.
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All services are provided on a sliding fee scale.
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GFIP Internships are offered to candidates who are pursuing their Master’s Degree in Social Work or Counseling. To fulfill their educational requirement, students working to obtain these degrees are required to participate in a field placement to practice and build their therapeutic techniques. Internships range from 6 months to 1 year depending on the student requirement for graduation. Other internship opportunities with GFIP that are not related to completing a Master’s Degree could be discussed on a case by case basis.
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In the 2008 – 2009 year GFIP served 98 families. Of these families 66% completed the program successfully. (return to top)

GFIP began as a pilot program in 2002. During the first year it served 48 families. The number of families GFIP serves has grown substantially since that time. GFIP works closely with the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s office and the Elkhart County Juvenile Probation Department as these are the top referral sources for our program. Once a family is involved with GFIP, we also work closely with the different school corporations in Elkhart County or any other agency that is involved with the family in order to provide the best service possible for the family. (return to top)


Client Responsibilities

How much does it cost?

Volunteering / Internships

Program Statistics

Program History


Excerpts from a letter written by a teenage client: I would like to thank you for everything you have done for me and my family. We have taken your advice and used it. You made me think of things I’ve never really thought about before. I always thought coming to GFIP would be so stupid, but now I know that coming here to talk has helped me make better decisions and turn my whole life around.


What Others Say...

"...the GFIP is a project that has been extremely valuable to our County's Juvenile Justice System. As you know, the underlying problem for many juvenile offenders, especially those children in the system as status offenders, are conflicts within their own families. The GFIP addresses family conflicts, and it provides a forum in which to work toward resolution. It is an important tool in the arsenal of services that we have to choose from in this County in our efforts to get young offenders back on track." ~ Juvenile Magistrate Deborah Domine