Orion Partners with Wilson Elementary School in Janesville, WI

February 15, 2023

Orion Family Services was contacted by Sonja Robinson, the Director of Pupil Services for the Janesville School District, who was interested in adding Orion as a provider of school based mental health services. After several meetings, Wilson Elementary School was identified as the place to pilot a “Parent Café” program. The district’s goal is to provide needed support to parents, increase engagement in the school community and begin the work of destigmatizing mental health.

Niquanna Barnett, Community Integrated Services Supervisor, Michelle Howard, Individual and Family Therapist, and Jennifer Hawley, Chief Program Officer, attended a dance at the school on January 14th to introduce themselves and the program to parents attending the event.  

Staff spreading the word to families about our new Parent Cafés!
Pictured L-R: Michelle Howard, Niquanna Barnett, and Jen Hawley

The first café was held on February 10th. Niquanna and Michelle led a presentation focusing on Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), an evidence-based treatment that improves parent-child attachment. Caregivers were provided with psychoeducation on parent child interactions which included a demonstration of “Special Play” with their children. Many of the caregivers asked questions and wondered if Michelle and Niquanna could work with them in their homes.

The hosts of Orion’s 1st Parent Café!
Pictured L-R: Niquanna Barnett and Michelle Howard

It was a fun, interactive and educational time. Parents stated they look forward to the other cafes planned for March 10th and April 14th ! If you would like more information about this program, please reach out to our Community Integrated Services Supervisor, Niquanna Barnett, at nbarnett@orionfamilyservices.org.