In the Spotlight - The Vermont Children's Alliance

In the Spotlight

Vermont’s Newest NCA Accredited CAC:

The Family Place CAC of North Springfield

This past year has been an exciting one for the growth and development of the CAC program in North Springfield, VT. Just 2 years ago The Family Place made arrangements to bring this Associate Program under its direction from the Springfield Area Parent Child Center (SAPCC), allowing it to thrive on SAPCC’s site and remain a resource to the Springfield community.

Much of the development of the CAC was based on that of The Family Place CAC in Norwich and followed the 2011 National Children’s Alliance (NCA) Standards. However, in order for The Family Place to apply under NCA’s 2011 standards of accreditation, the Family Place CAC of North Springfield had to have their application submitted before June 1st of 2016. Director Julie Gaudette had her work cut out for her, but she and her team accomplished that feat and the Family Place CAC of North Springfield was set to receive its accreditation site review October 18th, 2016.

The time between submitting the application and the site review allowed Julie and the CAC staff to complete some much needed renovations to the site, making it a more welcoming facility for children and families as well as a more sound environment to conduct quality recordings.

Director Julie Gaudette expressed thanks to Dunbar Welding of Claremont, NH who subcontracted various construction jobs necessary to remove plumbing, create office space, add ventilation and soundproof their interview room. She added, “That work allowed for a fantastic team from Hypertherm of Lebanon NH, who, using community paid time off, applied a fresh coat of paint across 900 square feet of the space.” She also noted through funding provided by a private donor coupled with discounts from local furniture shops like Young’s Furniture of Springfield, VT and Allard’s furniture of West Lebanon, NH, they were able to create a more welcoming and comfortable space.

She went on to say it was the tireless efforts of Nancy Theriault, SIU/CAC Program Coordinator and Martha Neary, SIU/CAC Interviewer who taped, mudded, shopped and cleaned to get the CAC in ship-shape and ready for its next chapter. There were moments of pure glee and moments of frustration over color swatches, rugs, pictures and even garbage cans, but they prevailed and a beautiful space was the created.

Left: Nancy Theriault, SIU/CAC Coordinator, Right: Martha Neary, SIU/CAC Interviewer

The October NCA site visit was well attended by the Springfield MDT, SIU/CAC Board members and Family Place staff and Board Directors as well as community partners. Jane Braun, NCA’s lead site reviewer for the visit followed the day’s agenda by saying “I got nothin’…” and indicated she was going to recommend the CAC for full NCA accreditation with no suggested improvements. In January of 2017, the NCA Board of Directors agreed and sent along the official plaque, now hung proudly on its freshly painted wall.

One of the primary goals of the Family Place CAC of North Springfield VT has been their journey to offer on-site therapy services, similar to those offered at the Norwich site. When Nancy Theriault was hired 3 years ago, she came with a Masters in Psychology and Julie said they looked to her to help grow the CAC program’s clinical services. Renovations to the CAC allowed for the creation of a separate space where CAC families are welcomed during interviews. Since that space is set apart from the interview room, it offers a quiet and tranquil place to provide therapy services to clients.

In March of 2017, following a rigorous application process registering with the State of Vermont to offer professional clinical services, Nancy received authorization and established the necessary supervision requirements to begin seeing clients on a part time basis in Springfield and as an overflow for Norwich clients. This furthers their commitment to offer therapy services regardless of disclosure, ability to pay and minimal to no wait time.

On a side note, The Family Place CAC in Norwich is the first in Vermont to apply for reaccreditation under the new NCA 2017 standards. The application was submitted in December and the site visit is scheduled for June 2017. This means that both the North Springfield and Norwich reaccreditation dates will forever be 6 months apart from each other in the same calendar year. Quite an undertaking but with Julie leading the way, they are up for the challenge!