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Engaging Natural Supports and Community Resources is the process of discovering and connecting with the enduring supports in a family’s environment who celebrate with the family in good times, comfort them through difficult times, contribute to a sense of belonging, and may provide tangible assistance. They may be extended family, friends, faith community, neighbors, mentors at school or work, or acquaintances who play a small but critical, encouraging role in a family’s life. Engaging community resources offers opportunities for family members to join in volunteer, play, learning, worship, and social activities that build resiliency. Informal resources are the naturally occurring, healthy forces that carry families beyond the reach of formal services.

CONTRIBUTION TO THE OUTCOME: Natural supports and community resources — or informal supports — focus on building and maintaining family, friends, and community connections. These connections can help to carry out interventions and sustain improved functioning after the IHT service ends. Informal supports that are included in teamwork, treatment planning, and ongoing collaboration strengthen healthy community bonds. Engaging informal supports, guided by the cultural context of each family, demonstrates shared hope in the youth’s and family’s ability to resolve treatment needs and move toward a positive future.


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