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Seneca Family of Agencies
Seneca Family of Agencies was founded in 1985 by staunch advocates who were determined to more effectively meet the needs of children in group homes and foster family care. Seneca established itself as an innovative leader in the provision of unconditional care through a comprehensive continuum of school, community-based and family-focused treatment services for children and families who have experienced high levels of trauma and are at risk for family disruption or institutional placement of the children. Seneca believes that kids aren’t failing the system, the system is failing kids.
Seneca is driven by values that reflect the agency’s foundational commitment to sustain youth and families through the most difficult times of their lives. Through this unwavering promise, Seneca works to create a new narrative of possibilities for every family, regardless of the complexity of their needs and the circumstances they are confronting. Seneca’s continuum of care developed out of a willingness to persistently ask: What do youth and their families need? What will it take to ensure those needs a
Seneca Family of Agencies helps children and families through the most difficult times of their lives.
- Closely related to the values of love and compassion is our belief in the importance of respect in all dealings with the children and families we serve. This means that we begin all our relationships with clients with the default assumption that they have been doing the very best they can with the resources they have available. We do not blame, look for faults, or assume that we know best. Instead we try to listen without judgment and create a situation
in which we are open to the other’s experience. We must show respect in many ways, some quite obvious and others more subtle. We show respect by communicating openly with clients about our work. We show respect by involving clients in a collaborative dialogue about their needs and goals. We show respect by honoring appropriate boundaries. We show respect by recognizing the difficult work clients do in treatment and by realizing that at times they may need to stop or even retreat from this work. Similarly, we show respect by pushing clients hard when they can accomplish more, learn more, and feel more. When we hold respect as a core value, we must also be prepared to encounter and work with differences, including differences of gender, culture, class, and race. We feel a keen responsibility to be sensitive to these differences and to be aware of the ways in which our own individual views and understanding may be skewed or influenced by who we are and what our own life experiences have been. It is easy to see differences of gender, culture, race, sexual orientation, and class as barriers to accomplishing the goals we have for our clients; but in fact, it is vital that we weave knowledge of such differences into our total understanding of the families we wish to serve. Our recognition of these differences can then enrich our understanding of how a parent sees their child, their family, their own life, and, ultimately, how they see us as we try to be of help to them. This will expand our empathy for the parent and the child and greatly assist us in working towards a vital, effective connection with the family. It is also true that our recognition of differences and our vigilance about their effects do not place us outside the problems created by inequalities of power and privilege that exist in our country. The value of respect is critical not only to our relationships with clients, but also to our relationships with each other within the agency. We must always view Seneca’s staff as the agency’s greatest asset. The quality of our services depends most of all on the skill and compassion of our staff, who must be mentored, nurtured, and trained in order to be effective. This process of training and staff development should yield a certain kind of respect for each other in which we feel a responsibility to communicate with directness and clarity and to hold each other to the very highest standards.