Meet Maria Abada, Bonnie Brae’s IIC/Aftercare Manager
What do you get when you combine experience working in Harlem, East Orange, and Newark with an internal drive to provide youth with quality therapeutic care?
Answer: Maria Abada- Bonnie Brae’s new Aftercare Manager tasked with transforming our Aftercare Program into an Intensive In Community (IIC) Services Program.
Maria came to Newark from the Philippines, with her parents, when she was 1 ½ years old. Maria was bullied as a child and did not have access to therapeutic services which could have helped her. Because of this, Maria strives to improve the lives of others. She became a therapist with a graduate degree in psychology from Columbia University. We sat down with Abada to learn more about the IIC Program, and here is what we learned:
For youth referred to the program, Bonnie Brae’s IIC Services will provide a therapist and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for several hours a week in the home. Depending on the needs of the youth, behavioral assistance may also be provided as a support for the clinician for two to four hours a week. Abada understands the importance of in-home care, as that is where there is a real capacity for change. Abada visits each home and assesses the level of care needed and then a recommendation is made and services begin. How long youth receive these services is decided on a case-by-case basis, and while the state recommendation is three to six months, Abada feels that six to nine months is more realistic. If treatment surpasses nine months, then this may not be the right level of care.
The primary focus for IIC is Bonnie Brae boys transitioning to their home communities, but we are also actively serving youth and families that are not a part of Bonnie Brae. In fact, as part of our IIC Program, we are serving our first female client as well as serving youth and families from multiple counties throughout New Jersey while working to secure contracts with additional counties. We also hope to partner with agencies like Homeless Solutions to give access to support for families in need.
Many of our current clinicians are involved in providing these services to our youth, as they have established relationships with the youth and families being served. Working with this program is a great opportunity for current childcare counselors to grow, and also provides our clinical interns with the opportunity to gain clinical experience.
100% of our Bonnie Brae boys will need these IIC services, and we’ll need help from people like you to help these families, many of whom are struggling with some basic needs. One way you can help is by donating gift cards for things such as gas, groceries, art therapy, and food to help the families. Gift card donations will go a long way in improving the lives of our youth.
Bonnie Brae is excited to be working with Maria Abada, and we look forward to sharing the success of our Intensive In Community Services Program, which helps us to further our mission of empowering youth and families to achieve small victories every day through comprehensive care and education.
Take advantage of one of our many ways to give here.