Zero to Five Project

F&CS is the only agency in our community that provides counseling services to children younger than five. Our Zero to Five Project offers comprehensive mental health services to families with children aged birth through five years. This program is for families with infants, toddlers and preschoolers who have developed or are at risk of developing social, emotional or psychological problems. Treatment is provided within the context of the parent-child relationship to foster positive outcomes for both.

We receive referrals from pediatricians, county social and health agencies, Head Start and pre-school programs, as well as directly from clients, to provide services such as:

  • Home visits
  • Therapy groups
  • Collaborations with other service providers
  • Referrals to community services
  • Psycho-educational workshops

Frequent issues that are addressed include concerns about child development, adverse childhood experiences, attachment difficulties, regulation difficulties, and serious emotional and behavioral problems. A significant amount of our referrals are children and families involved in the foster care, kinship foster care, and family treatment court systems. Many of these families are involved in a court system to resolve issues of custody, visitation, and guardianship. In addition to the treatment services, the Zero to Five Project also provides consultation to parents, schools, and other agencies about behavioral and developmental concerns.

It’s 1:30 a.m. Lying on the floor, a father stares at the ceiling. His three-year old’s nightlight is casting shadows across the room. Beside him, up on the brand-new toddler bed, his daughter lies, encircled by stuffed animals. He knows the name of each one by heart. He has put each one of them to bed three times tonight. He puts them to bed at least three times every night. “Goodnight Moose-the-dog. Sleep tight, Elsa-the-bear,” he usually says. His daughter interrupts, “Daddy, don’t forget Cow. Cow is scared, too.” Every night, except for the nights his wife takes the bedtime shift, he reassures Cow. He reassures his daughter. And he tries to reassure himself. Someday, he will get a full night’s sleep again. Someday, his daughter will go to bed without having a screaming fit. Someday, they will be able get this kid to sleep a whole night in her own bed without one parent or another sleeping beside her on the floor. The later it gets, the harder it is for him to believe it will ever be true …

“What am I supposed to do with you?” A mother wrestles her way in between her three and five-year-old sons. The older boy has just smacked his younger brother square in the face. As she pries the boys away from each other, their arms flailing, one of them lands a wallop just to the right of her nose, under her eye. Her temper flares, her eyes tear, and, with that, she’s yelling again. Her mind wanders to all the times her mom screamed at her and how much she hated it. “I don’t want to be this kind of mom!” she thinks. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, she thinks, as the boys stomp off toward the room they share. It’s only a matter of time before they are at it again. Before the arguing starts. Before she is yelling again. She is so tired of yelling….

The classroom of four-year-olds bustle and buzz around the room. It’s the Friday before a long vacation. It’s almost pick-up time. One child sits off to the side, watching her friends play with the kitchen corner. She doesn’t feel like playing. She is thinking about her mommy. She is thinking about going home. She isn’t sure, but she knows it has been a long time since she’s been home.

Someone had said her mommy was getting help, someone had told her that her mommy was sick. The child sure hoped her mommy was getting better. Today, in school, she had wet her pants. Again. She tried to hide it, and she told her teacher that she didn’t, but she had. She was so scared that if her foster mom found out, she would have to leave again, and find a new home. What if there weren’t any more homes for her?

The child was as scared of having to leave as she was of never going home. When she asked about going home, her foster mom told her “maybe.” ‘Maybe’ was a weird word. It made her tummy get all twisty. She doesn’t like to think about the word “maybe….”