YAP Program Director Valerie Koeppel first met Jeremiah when he was 7 years old and living in his 6th residential placement. He was four hours away from his home and family, and YAP began working with his family to plan for his return home. Through the assessment process, the team learned a lot about Jeremiah and his family. Like Jeremiah, his mother and stepfather were accustomed to hearing- and believing- negatives about themselves. “Helping them see their potential took a lot of hard work,” Valerie recalled.
Although Jeremiah’s parents lived apart and often didn’t agree on how to parent Jeremiah and his siblings, with YAP support, they learned to work together in the best interest of their children. Their collaboration was critical to the development of a strong plan. The family had very complex needs, and as a result, there were many other services and supports in addition to YAP that worked together to meet the family's needs while also building their strengths and interests. The planning process was difficult but important goals were developed, particularly regarding safety planning and crisis intervention.
Jeremiah was reunited with his family in June of 2013. Since Jeremiah’s successful transition back to his own home and community and his discharge from YAP in July 2014, Valerie stays in touch with the family on a casual basis. Jeremiah continues to thrive. He no longer takes any medication. He is succeeding in the private day school he attends- gets along with his peers and achieves good grades.
For much of his short life, Jeremiah was described as angry and extremely aggressive. But today, those labels are no longer attributed to the 10 year old. His principal describes him as “very mannerly,” and Valerie is not surprised. “Jeremiah is talented, charming and funny--and his parents did what they needed to do to help him and keep him safe,” she said. “The entire team effort was amazing.”