Frequently Asked Questions
Who should use us?
Families with adolescents who are unwilling to attend a program, especially those who have demonstrated emotional and/or behavioral problems in the past, should use West Shield. In some cases the very mention of attending a program could lead the adolescent to run away or attempt to hurt him/herself or others. The needs of such individuals are better served by trained professionals who can provide an appropriate intervention and transport the adolescent to the program safely and in the best possible frame of mind. What is often viewed as a form of punishment when administered by a parent can be turned into an opportunity for growth and self awareness when presented to the adolescent by the "right" person. This is why West Shield goes to such lengths to select agents with whom the adolescent can identify and feel comfortable. Focusing not only on the physical safety, but also the psychological and emotional well-being of the adolescent.
What about laws?
All West Shield transport agents, managers and owners are registered with the Trustline Registry through the Department of Social Services. State Law now requires this registration and can impose stiff penalties on those who violate this new law. This law improves the professionalism of our industry as well as helps to keep known predators out of our industry.
Who has evaluated your service and/or referred to it?
Our Services have been referred by educational consultants, parents, program directors, school district administrators, hospital staff, law enforcement agencies, psychiatrists, psychologists and other adolescent care providers for more then 20 years. References are available upon request. Click here to read testimonials online.
How is staff selected and trained?
West Shield agents come from a variety of backgrounds, including counseling and social work, previous experience working at emotional growth schools and programs, private investigations and government positions associated with troubled youth. Extensive background checks are performed on all prospective employees at the time of interview. Following that process, all personnel undergo a specialized training program that includes certification in a nationally accredited non-violent crisis intervention program. Agents initially work as back-ups, assisting and observing on many cases while developing skills necessary to ascend to the level of lead agent.
How do we measure success?
By the admission of counselors who tell us how much better prepared the young people are that we bring to their programs, by positive feedback from parents and professionals after utilizing our services. We at West Shield view adolescent transporting as 5% physical and 95% psychological, getting the adolescent to the program in the best possible frame of mind -- accepting responsibility for their role in the decision to send them to the program and understanding what is expected of them at the program. Based on statistics recorded from 1992 to 1997, West Shield has a 97% success rate in locating and returning runaways (112 out of 116 cases).
What distinguishes West Shield from others who may appear to be comparable in some respects?
Experience is one key factor that separates West Shield from the competition. For over 25 years, West Shield has been helping families by locating runaways and safely transporting adolescents to programs and facilities throughout the United States. We have developed an extensive base of agents in most major cities throughout the U.S. Having a team of Private Investigators who are highly trained and experienced in dealing with troubled youth is another distinct advantage that West Shield has over other agencies. One more key factor to consider is West Shield's $2,000,000 liability insurance coverage. This policy not only protects the families we work with, but also provides protection for professionals and programs that refer families to West Shield. The policy is specifically written to cover transporting adolescents to programs.
What about parent participation?
Ideally parents are asked to make a brief introduction of the agents to the adolescent, explaining that we are there to talk and help the adolescent. We then ask the parents to leave the area to minimize the amount of aggression and/or manipulation by the adolescent. Our agents then take time to explain the situation to the adolescent, treating her/him with respect and dignity throughout the transport and asking for the same in return.
What are our communication procedures for families, referral sources and others?
In gathering information for each case, extensive communication is conducted between the intake coordinator and the parents, educational consultant, counselor, therapist and program admissions director. Agents report to the West Shield office during each leg of the transport, and updates are provided to parents and programs as the transport unfolds. At the conclusion of the transport, agents call the parents to provide a first hand account of how the adolescent behaved during the transport and the intake coordinator informs the consultant and others involved as to the outcome of the transport.
This should be determined on an individual basis. Families with adolescents who are willing to attend a program can still benefit from West Shield's professional transport services in that our agents are fully equipped to answer any questions the adolescent may have regarding the program, a big step in helping the adolescent understand what is taking place. In addition, West Shield's agents are fully capable of dealing with any changes of attitude that may occur as the transport progresses or changes in the travel arrangements, such as flight delays and cancellations.
Copyright © 2008 West Shield Adolescent Services
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16033 Bolsa Chica Rd., #104-350 Huntington Beach, CA 92649 Telephone (714) 898-9696 (800) 899-8585 Fax (866) 874-9588