Youth Villages’ program provides mental health relief to rural families

SMITHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After months of searching for resources in their county, a Smithville, Tennessee, family said their adopted daughters got the mental health resources they needed thanks to Youth Villages Intercept Program that sent a counselor to their home three days a week.

The service is not just for adoptive children, it is available to all children who have been abused and or neglected.

“I was to the point where I was ready to give up. Like I didn’t know what else to do. I myself was crying all the time. And now, you rarely have to hear any yelling or anything in the house because they ‘ve learned coping skills explained,” adoptive mother Kristie Bain.

However, the change did not happen overnight. Finding help took Bain months.

“Under the circumstances that they were born and, you know, the kind of trauma that they went through… I wouldn’t say [they had] disabilities, as much as mental health,” she explained.

Bain said she worked with her 8 and 9-year-old’s school counselor and also went to the Haven of Hope in Smithville for help, but did not feel her daughters were getting the help they needed.

“I actually had to call like the crisis hotline, because they got to the point where they were becoming like physically abusive, and there was incidents where they grabbed knives to hurt each other,” Bain recalled. “I had to call crisis one more time and then they told me about Youth Villages that will actually come to the house to see your children in the home and I just felt that was fantastic. It was a blessing not to be able to have to travel in find the means in money for gas to be able to go outside of DeKalb County.”


Claire Kopsky

In a matter of eight months of visits from Youth Villages to their home, the Bain family said they saw a dramatic difference in their daughter’s ability to cope with their emotions.

In the summer of 2022, a specialized counselor from Youth Villages started visiting the Bain family.

“Vega was experiencing hours-long meltdowns on a daily basis. Vega was really struggling. She she had been asked to leave school at the end of the year. So one of our big goals was to be able to get her back in school and get her to where she was more regulated and able to calm down,” detailed Jacie Boyd, a Youth Villages Intercept counselor and family intervention specialist. “Kids do well if they can not if they want to. We hope to build those skills with Vega so that she can do well so that she has the skills to regulate herself so that she has the ability to recognize when she’s getting out of control . We call it flipping her lid.”

Boyd’s goals were made together with the family.

“We as specialists will never come into somebody’s home and tell them what they need to do or what they have to do. We want to help you come to solutions that fit your family,” explained Boyd. “It’s unique and individualized for every client, every family, there is no cookie cutter copy and paste type of method to do.”

After eight months of working with both of Bain’s daughters, they saw drastic changes.

“We went from hours-long meltdowns every day to maybe one 20 or 30-minute meltdown a week, maybe? So I would say that that is some pretty significant improvement,” stated Boyd.


Claire Kopsky

Youth Villages Intercept Counselor and Family Intervention Specialist Jacie Boyd

“It’s wonderful for them because I know it had to be just as hard for them as it was for me to have to deal with the emotions going on inside of them and then not knowing how to express how they feel,” Bain expressed.

The family said they hope by sharing their story, other families, especially in rural areas will seek out Youth Villages’ help.

“Just to be able to get Youth Villages out there and to know that they come to your home and people don’t have to suffer with anxiety and depression and know that they have no choice but to deal with the kids the way they are they don’t.They can get services and the services are amazing,” Bain said.

As of the first week of January, Youth Villages was serving 458 families in the Intercept program, with nearly 100 of those families out of its Cookeville office. The organization said they are hiring for all programs, especially Intercept.

To learn more about Youth Villages’ Intercept Program, visit the national organization’s website.


Claire Kopsky

The Youth Villages Intercept Counselor and Family Intervention Specialist visits the family’s home three times a week to check in and teach lessons through activities.


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