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Family Focus

This is a short-term residential program that addresses emotional and behavioral problems of children and adolescents in partnership with their parents and other family members. This program emphasizes the empowerment of families, a strength-based perspective and the strengthening of the child's connection to the parents. Family-centered practice is an essential element of this program as parents are the decision makers and active participants in the treatment process.  

Family Focus is located in Saco, ME.

Information for Clients and Families


The goal of Sweetser's Family Focus program is to empower parents, reunify families, enhance children's connections with families, and to enhance family functioning.


We believe that strengthening family connections and supporting parents to be the best parents they can be is the most effective approach to protecting our youth. These beliefs form the philosophical foundation of Sweetser's residential programs and shape our work from our initial family contact through discharge. Interventions are matched to the needs of those we serve as we build upon the family's own strengths and resources, never viewing the family as deficient or needing repair.

As partners in service with families, we move away from controlling their relationships and towards collaboration. We are committed to working in a collaborative partnership with individuals, their families, and other members of their support systems in the least intrusive or restrictive manner possible always taking into account their unique cultural, ethnic, and personal characteristics.

Our service approach is strengths-based and person centered, building the individual's and family's strengths and resources to develop achievable solutions. By promoting a mutually respectful, collaborative partnership we empower individuals and their families to manage their own path to recovery.

Historically, residential programs have concerned themselves with child protection. While protection and safety are important goals, an over emphasis moves helping professionals into a position of control that stifles children and sends the message to their families that they are incompetent and untrustworthy. We have moved away from this stifling control to a stance of collaborating with families and our partners in care to assure safety for all family members and protection for the child.

We also believe that patterns of unhelpful and inappropriate behaviors repeat themselves across systems. We always consider how our "helping systems" influences how families interact with each other and with us. We constantly ask ourselves how we may be contributing towards ongoing problems and/or communications difficulties. Children and adolescents experiencing a severe emotional disturbance and/or an addiction problem, and their families, must have access to child-focused, family-driven, culturally sensitive, and competent treatment services throughout the time they are served.

What Our Clients Are Saying

Steve wakes his son, Alex, by 4 a.m., to drive from their home in western Maine to Boston Children's Hospital for Alex's appointment. "We have done this many, many times before," Steve tells me over the telephone. Alex was born with brain damage as a result of a stroke before birth. Now nearly...

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Executive Address: 2 Pendleton Drive Saco, Maine          Mailing Address: 50 Moody Street Saco, Maine 04072-0892          Phone: 1-800-434-3000                           Copyright © 2019  Sweetser