The WISE program is a partnership of Children’s Aid and Family Services and Wynona’s House Child Advocacy center in Newark. WISE is an evidence-based program that was developed by Barbara Bonner and her colleagues at Oklahoma University’s Center for Child Abuse and Neglect to help families with children ages 8 – 15 who have problems with sexual boundaries. It provides assessment, education, treatment and prevention to both the parents and the children. Families are in treatment for approximately 12 – 16 weeks. Each family participates in group counseling based on a comprehensive, evidence-based curriculum. Individual, family and peer group sessions are held as well.
Most programs that address sexual behavior concerns are victim-focused. WISE is unique because it recognizes the need for healing for the entire family. WISE works with all members of the family to promote healthy relationships and ensure the family environment is safe for everyone. Families receive support to communicate more effectively with one another and identify underlying issues they need to address. WISE reduces the possibility of problematic behaviors in the children, helping to divert them from the juvenile justice system or placement into foster or residential care.