An ounce of prevention is the strategy in Harwich and Chatham

It takes a town to raise a child

By Teresa Martin

It’s not easybeing 14 –and that’s why two towns on the Cape are taking a proactiveapproach to the issues of adolescents and taking to heart the idea thatit takes a town to raise a child.

In Harwich, kids ages 11-18, as well as parents of those ages canturn to the town-funded youth counselor for help in making it throughthose sometimes bumpy years.

A Decade of the Preventative Model

Licensed clinical social worker Sheila House is Harwich’s Youth Counselor.She says that In 1998/99 a group of people in the town – school,church, community organizations, and parents, formed a study committeeto study need for working with Harwich teens at risk.

“They felt that doing a preventive model of some kind might be really helpful,” she said.

It was put before town meeting in 2000 and approved. A decade later,the program continues to serve the town. It is a year-round positionand is housed outside of the school, which allows it to have a highlevel of confidentiality and access for both adolescents and families.

“I don’t just work school hours and I am here in the summer andduring vacations so someone is always around. There’s always someonethey can go it,” says House.

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