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Tammy's Story

I’ve been abused. Kicked in the head. Stuff going into my head, Glass in my head. They had to sew my tendon back together. My arm was cut open. I dealt with two drug attics for 17 years. Just because I was trying to keep the family together. I didn’t believe in hopping from person to person.

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A mother and her child join in at an annual SETconnect event to build a strong connection and practice habits of a healthy and happy family.

Building Relationships Among Parents, Children and Schools

SET implements its Parent Clubs using the Family and Schools Together (FASTTM) model as its evidence-based framework. FASTTM is an early intervention, award-winning model that builds protective factors around children by engaging parents and connecting them with their schools. It centers on the needs of children and the function of their families.

SET is tailoring the FASTTM model to the Milwaukee community by integrating content with SET’s PEACE program curriculum. The PEACE program is an urban-education program for elementary and middle school students. It applies SET’s small-group process and trauma-informed care principles to heal trauma and build resiliency by teaching social and emotional competence.

Parent Club Goals
  • Enhance family functioning
  • Ensure scholastic success
  • Prevent substance abuse and delinquency
  • Engage parents in the education process
Benefits for Parents
  • Share problem solving with other parents
  • Learn high functioning family management
  • Build strong connections with their children
  • Learn habits of healthy, happy families
  • Connect with schools and community services

Parent Clubs meet weekly, parents along with their children, and include a family meal, structured play activities, parent education and support, and parent-child play therapy facilitated by a multidisciplinary team. Parent Club graduates are invited to become involved with other graduate families at monthly meetings that provide parents with the opportunity to sustain progress and seek help with individual family problems in a nonjudgmental, professional forum with other parents.

Family Stability

Transitioning homeless families from a shelter into stable housing, SET works with parents to secure a home. Addressing this urgent need puts parents at ease and more able to visualize a brighter future.

Once housing is established, SET works with parents in their homes to guide them to establish and fulfill goals to increase resiliency in children and promote family stability. We listen to the parent discuss their family’s needs and determine how we can support them to overcome life’s barriers. SET engages in conversation from the perspective of “What happened to you?” rather than “What’s wrong with you?”

Often times, people are carrying the painful burden of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and need to be healed before they are ready to learn the skills to take care of themselves and their family. SET starts by establishing a relationship of trust.

We guide parents to identify and achieve their own goals in the areas of stable housing, education, employment, health and relationships. Through collaborations with other organizations, SET leverages services within the community to channel resources that are best able to meet the needs of the family.

SET works with children in the context of the family as they transition from homelessness. They often exhibit behavioral problems when they experience the trauma associated with an unstable home environment. We support the children and empower the parents, giving them the information and resources to act as an advocate on their child’s behalf. 

This process guides parents uncover their capabilities to become increasingly self-sufficient. Over time, with a high frequency of interaction and encouragement, they develop the skills that bring about sustainable change. SET programs and services empower people living in poverty with the skills and resources to understand their potential and redefine life for themselves and their children.

At a Glance

Number of People:
 500 adults and children each year
 2 schools and 49 scattered sites for formerly-homeless families
Program Intensity:
1-3 hours weekly per family based on family need
Interdisciplinary Team:
Bachelor-prepared Social Workers and Master-prepared Social Workers


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