Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Transport:

Q:   What is our (parents/guardians) role in the adolescent intervention process?

A:  Guardian Angel understands how emotionally sensitive the events of a child’s downward spiral can be on the family. For that reason Guardian Angel prides itself on being a “full service” adolescent intervention company.

Crisis Intervention

  Our intake coordinator will walk you through the entire process from start to finish. The coordinator will explain procedures and options for transportation. The coordinator will also explain the precautions you need to take to ensure your child remains unaware of your intentions, i.e.
  • Delete incoming and outgoing numbers from phone & fax machine.
  • Secure email and web site information.
  • Secure all paperwork, preferably out of the house.
  • Refrain from divulging your intentions or your child's intervention to others.

Q:  How much notice is needed?

A: Because Guardian Angel has agents strategically located throughout the United States we can usually meet your needs immediately.

Q:  Who will set up travel arrangements?

A:  For your convenience Guardian Angel provides complete travel arrangements. Our intake coordinators are extremely proficient in finding the most cost and time effective means of travel. Our intervention agency is also proficient in cost, equipment type, and qualifications of private air charter.

Q: What about other children in the house?

A:  As each families case is unique so too are the procedures for each case. As a rule Guardian Angel will usually advise parents to leave siblings where they would normally be. We do not want to arouse suspicion with the adolescent.

Q: What happens after the transport is set up?

A: Upon arriving to your general location our agents will contact you at a previously arranged time and phone number. They will meet with you in person, usually at their hotel as we prefer to stay away from public places (i.e. restaurants) due to the sensitive nature and emotional duress of family members, or they will review the case with you by phone.

Q: When will you pickup my child?

A: In most cases the transport will require an early morning pickup (usually between 3a.m. and 6a.m.). The early morning pickup is utilized because it places introductions between the agents and your child at the safest time of day.

  • Early morning usually ensures your child is sleeping thus minimizing the chance of discovery before our agents are able to secure your child.

  • Early morning also provides a time in a child’s day when they will most likely be cooperative (being groggy and tired minimizes confrontation).

  • Early pickups also help agents complete travel plans in the same day (based on typical airline departures and program hours of admission).

  • Guardian Angel can safely perform pickups at other times and locations if necessary.

Q: What happens when the agents arrive at our home?

A: Upon arriving, the agents will quickly introduce themselves and ask to be shown to your child’s room. Although the brevity of the introduction may seem impersonal, Guardian Angel  needs to stress the importance of not being caught off guard.

We request that parents allow our agents to wake your child. This procedure is critical for two reasons.

1. Guardian Angel's field agents are highly trained in crisis intervention. Allowing the parent(s) to initialize the introduction creates the potential for a needless power struggle with the adolescent over who is in charge, the agents or the parents. The child, knowing he/she has leverage with his/her parents, will likely begin to argue and manipulate them, disregarding the authoritarian role of the agents. When our agents wake up your child they immediately show him/her their identification disarming potential fear of unauthorized intruders. Minimizing parental involvement tactfully puts the adolescent in a position of understanding that the agents are in charge. Allowing our agents to immediately take full control of the initial intervention creates a positive atmosphere of cooperation.

2.  Parents are usually very stressed and apprehensive during the pick up of their child. The last thing an overwhelmed parent needs during this stressful and very sensitive time is to be asked to perform an introduction. You have hired a professional agency to safely (mentally & physically) secure and transport your child with the expectation that the agency will provide complete service not only to the child, but the entire family. It is the agency’s obligation to minimize all aspects of stress and safety issues as realistically as possible.

  • Under most circumstances introduction of the agents by the agents should be followed (out of safety and courtesy to the parents, and ease of transition for the child).
  • Our agents are proficient in non-combative crisis intervention utilizing verbal de-escalation techniques.
  • Verbal threats or reactions never warrant the use of restraint measures.
  • Agents will only use mechanical restraints in the following scenarios: 
     

1. all other de-escalation techniques have been exhausted

2. an adolescent becomes a physical threat to themself or another

3. the adolescent's threat assesment indicates immanent flight risk

Professional Intervention

  Use caution when considering adolescent intervention / transport companies that advertise a “no restraints… ever” policy.
 
  There are times when verbal de-escalation fails and an individual escalates into “extreme crisis”. When one escalates to this level you must remember he/she is incapable of rationalizing. In this dangerous mindset the individual has a significant potential to act out with physical aggression.

  Also, when intervening with someone under the influence of or detoxing from drugs or alcohol you must never forget you are dealing with a “chemically influenced” personality. In this situation the individual can escalate into “extreme crisis” without warning or provocation.

  You want to retain a professional adolescent intervention / transport company whose field agents are trained and proficient in ALL “crisis intervention and resolution” techniques. An inexperienced or unqualified agent can actually exacerbate the crisis by being unprepared and/or incapable of safe intervention.  

In these scenarios an unqualified agent basically has two choices: 

  1. "wing it"
  2. let the adolescent go

  Both situations have the potential to produce dangerous results. The agent who will “wing-it” must improvise as he/she  will likely have little if any training in physical restraint and detainment techniques (as there is no reason for this type of training in a company that professes a total “hands-off” policy). An inexperienced agent will likely overcompensate if physically engaged by the individual in crisis. Therein lies the potential for harm… to both the aggressor and the agent.  When physically threatened, it is human nature for the body to react with the "fight or flight" syndrome. Essentially, this syndrome is the brain’s chemical reaction to fear. The brain releases bursts of adrenaline throughout the blood stream which, in turn, fuels the bodies muscles with extreme energy. If an agent is not experienced in working under this type of duress he/she could over exert themselves and, unintentionally, physically harm the adolescent and/or themselves.

  The agent who decides to disengage and allow the adolescent to runaway has failed as well.  The child has just been given information that he/she is going to intervention. If not taken into custody at this critical juncture the adolescent, being a probable flight risk, will most likely attempt to runaway.

 Once information is given to a child you must be prepared to and capable of seeing the initial intervention through to completion. 

*For more information regarding the use of restraints please go to the attached link "Restraints or No Restraints" written for Strugglingteens.com by Timothy Smith / Co-owner and Senior Field Agent of Guardian Angel Youth Services.

Q: What happens when the agents wake up my child?

A: Upon entering the room the secondary agent will secure the scene (turn on lights, remove any obstacles or potential retaliatory objects) while the lead agent proceeds directly to your child. After the room is secured the second agent will stand by the window or door (minimizing the intimidation factor of having two adults standing over the child when he/she wakes up). The lead agent will gently wake your child giving them plenty of time to focus before proceeding. The agent will be holding his/her identification for the adolescent to see (minimizing the child’s fear of unauthorized people in their room). The agent will ask for verbal confirmation that the child has seen the agent’s credentials. Once introductions are complete the lead agent will lower him/her self to equal eye level with the child (further minimizing the intimidation factor). Next, the agent will explain the “basics” of the situation (who we are and what is happening).

Next, the agents will search the adolescent and then give them the appropriate clothing to wear.

  • If the child is a female the male agent will leave the room while the adolescent dresses.
  • In most cases average time between wake up and departure from your home is     7 – 10 minutes. Your home is your child’s “comfort zone” and is the location he/she is most likely to be confrontational. Removing the child, expeditiously, from their “comfort zone” minimizes the likelihood of excessive combative behavior.
  • Showers are not permitted due to security and privacy issues.
  • From the time the adolescent is woke up until he/she arrives at their destination an agent will always be (tactfully) no more than arms distance from the child.

 The agents will then escort the adolescent out of the house and to the vehicle.

Q: What if my child refuses to go?

A: This is to be expected. Our agents are trained to go into each initial intervention with the expectation that the child will not go willingly. Guardian Angel understands that the child is going to be angry, overwhelmed, and/or scared. We also understand that the child may be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Our agents will take every possible aspect into consideration when making the initial assessment of your child’s overall behavior. If the child refuses to cooperate, the agents will give the adolescent every opportunity to rescind. After all avenues of verbal de-escalation have been exhausted the agents will, if necessary, tactfully secure the child and continue with the intervention.

  • An agent must never negotiate with the child. It sets precedence for future noncompliance and lack of accountability.
  • As an adolescent must always be held accountable for their actions so too must the agents. An agent going back on promises or accountability will only slow down and harm the positive intervention process for the child.
  • Agents must operate with a “tough love” attitude while understanding that compassion must always take precedence.

Q: What should I pack for my child and when?

A:  When possible, pack a small day pack with reading materials, a new tooth brush, and one change of clothing (unless otherwise expressed by the program or our intake coordinator) the day before the transport. You are encouraged to write a letter to your child (both parents if possible). The agents will give the letter(s) to your child when appropriate.

Our agents will ask the child if he/she would like to take their MP3 player or IPOD.

We do not advise parents to initially pack the music because it is an item the child may notice missing (reason for a new toothbrush). Keep the backpack stored in an undetectable place (i.e. trunk of car).

Q: What about my child’s medication?

A: Place all medications in a separate bag, in their original containers, and hand them over to the agents. All medications are secured by the agents and will be dispensed only at prescribed times.

Q: Do we get to say goodbye to our child?

A: It has been our experience that saying “goodbye” and “I love you” usually angers the child. Your child knows you love them! Guardian Angel understands the desire to say “goodbye” and remind your child that you love them. However, in reality this usually flares the flame of anger within the child causing the agents to address and diffuse more animosity and potential hostility. The end result simply delays the positive intervention process. For that reason we encourage parents to write a brief letter to their child. Our agents will give the letter to your child at an appropriate time.

Q: What happens when the agents leave with my child?

A: Our agents will continue to prepare your child for the intervention program he/she will be attending. However, we do not give specifics on behalf of the program (use of phones, duration of stay, or other sensitive information).

  • We will provide all meals and snacks.
  • We do not allow the child to use phones, write letters to friends, or smoke.

Q: When will we hear from the agents?

A: When possible, the agents will contact you during the transport. Immediately after arriving to the child’s program the agents will contact you and brief you on the transport.

Feel free to contact our intake coordinators anytime during the transport. Whether looking for updates or just needing someone to talk to we are always here for you.

Q: What if my child will not board the airplane?

A: Our field agents continually prepare the child for commercial airline travel. The agents meticulously monitor the child’s attitude and willingness to cooperate.  Airport security is a very sensitive matter and our agents must be assured of a respectable level of cooperation from the child before taking them into an airport. If at any time the agents feel the child is too “high-risk” to travel commercially the lead agent will contact you immediately to discuss the situation and alternate travel plans. It may be that extra time is needed to get the child in the right frame of mind or travel plans may need to be altered i.e. driving or use of private aircraft.

  • It is important to understand that transport plans can and will change in order to safely and securely meet the needs of your child. Guardian Angel  always has a backup plan.

  • In the case of transporting by vehicle do not be alarmed by driving distance.

  • Transport by vehicle is a service Guardian Angel offers to all domestic clients.

Secured Short Term Holding:
Q: What is secured holding?

A: Secured holding is a service in which an adolescent is placed, short-term, *under 24 hour supervision. Although agents are with the child at all times, a secured environment is not a punitive environment.

* Degree of supervision depends on level of cooperation, general attitude, and flight risk.

Q: How long can a child stay in holding?

A:
Secured holding is available for as little as 24 hours and as long as several weeks.

Q:
What if a child needs temporary placement, but not secured holding?

A: Guardian Angel provides full service placement based on individual needs.

Q:
How will the adolescent spend his/her time in secured holding?

A: He/she will participate in a family environment, working on academics and/or other assignments or tasks provided by the staff. Factors including hostility, detoxing, and/or flight risk are assessed when determining their level of security and social interaction with others.

Q:
How does a child get to and from your facility?

A: Adolescents may arrive by themselves or by chaperone. When needed, Guardian Angel can transport your child to and from our holding facilities.

Q:
Where is the holding facility?

A: Our main facility is near Spokane, Washington.
We also have several secondary locations throughout the United States along with the ability to provide service in most venues worldwide.

World Wide Service

Still have more questions?

 Please feel free to call us or fill out the form below.

Click on the Intake Form link located on the navigation bar to fill out our on-line intervention form.

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