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News & Views - April, 1995 Issue #33 

by: Caroline Wolf
West Shield Adolescent Services

(Caroline Wolf was a counselor at an Idaho boarding school for 11 years. She is now a team leader Transport agent with West Shield Adolescent Services.) 

When I was a teenager, I remember when my parents hired an escort service to transport me to an alternative therapeutic boarding school. The transition to a new environment, the unknown, was extremely fearful. From this experience, I know the importance of compassion and respect that it requires in dealing with teenagers. 

Because of my successful experience with caring counselors and consultants, it became clear that my mission in life would be to work with kids in trouble. With a sense of clear purpose, I became dedicated to the process of early intervention. 

After twelve years of working with troubled teens, it has been my experience that the beginning process of an adolescent going to any type of program entails key ingredients in successful delivery. Those key ingredients are: 

1. Prepare a personal profile of the adolescent and then match with a transport agent whose background is similar. 

2. The bonding process. By letting the child know that we are working for them as well as their parents while reassuring their safety and well-being. 

3. Honesty. This is critical in moving the child into the frame of mind. 

4. To help the child recognize how their situation has reached this point of transition. 

5. Preparing the child for the program specifically chosen for them. 

With this personal knowledge and experience, it was easy to make the transition into working as a transport agent for West Shield Adolescent Services. 

One of my first experiences with transports was with West Shield Adolescent Services Ollie Perkins. Ollie's training and support gave me confidence and validated my abilities that I would be effective working with adolescents in a crisis situation. 

From the training I've received from West Shield and my own personal experience, I recognize the need for highly skilled, effective, professionals in all aspects of adolescent transportation, intervention and retrieval. 

I''m not quite sure what other agencies require for their training, but I believe a successful transport starts with continuous training in adolescent needs, and above all, the ability to rationally work with individuals involved in a crisis situation. Because every case I've dealt with is different, I believe one should treat the individuals involved (adolescents & parents) on a personal level. When it comes down to it's just people helping people. 

Copyright 1995, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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