Family Counseling Program

The River to Coast Children’s Services Counseling Program provides short term counseling services to:

  • families receiving Respite or subsidized child care from RCCS
  • families (not subsidized) receiving care at a RCCS-contracted child care homes, and
  • families in the west county community who request counseling or are referred by other community agencies or service providers.

Counseling is provided by trainees, registered MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) interns working toward licensure and/or licensed MFTs. The clinical supervisor provides guidance and case conferences on clinical and policy issues. Modes of therapy available include individual or couples therapy for parents on issues related to children and family life, play therapy for children 3 years and older, and individual therapy for youth up to 14 years old relating to family relationships. The specific length of the short-term counseling is determined on an individual basis by the counselor and client(s), with input from the clinical supervisor. The focus of the RCCS Counseling Program is on parenting and family relationships, with an emphasis on the prevention and treatment of child abuse.


Clients may call the counseling staff at the RCCS office for an initial intake and assessment. Referrals may also be made to the counseling staff by other agencies or individuals on their behalf, (e.g. child care provider, child development specialist or other professional working with the family). During the initial intake, a RCCS counseling staff member will gather general information about the family’s needs for counseling. If need is determined, and there is an opening in the program, a referral will be made to a therapist in the program. If no openings are available, the counseling staff will give referrals to other therapists and make an effort to secure an appointment for the family.

Families are enrolled in the Counseling Program according to the following priorities:

  1. Families currently receiving Respite child care, (e.g. referred for Child Protective Services reasons.)
  2. Families currently receiving subsidized child care, (e.g. low income working parent.)
  3. Non-subsidized families attending RCCS contracted child care homes.
  4. Other families in the West County community.

RCCS has a commitment to referring families to other appropriate agencies if the family’s need cannot be sufficiently served by RCCS or if the waiting period is lengthy.


RCCS staff members, Board members, and their families are ineligible for individual or family counseling services. Volunteers who work in the capacity of a staff member for RCCS on more than a once a week basis, and their families, are ineligible for counseling services. Parents who serve in an advisory capacity to the agency (e.g., Board of Directors committee member) may be eligible for counseling services. However, if an issue comes to the Committee regarding the counseling program or staff, the parent will refrain from participating in any vote regarding that matter. The agency reserves the right to determine ineligibility for counseling services based on any other conflict of interest.

This policy is based on the belief that a clear boundary should be drawn between those employed or contracted by RCCS and those served therapeutically by RCCS. Such a boundary ensures that therapy will not be compromised by a client’s need to fulfill a dual role at RCCS (e.g., client and staff member), and that employees’/contractors’ relationships will not be complicated by the intense emotional and personal reactions that therapy sometimes evokes. The distinction between client and employee/contractor attempts to protect both the client and the RCCS Counseling Program from bias in decision-making and evaluating, as well. In addition, clients benefit in therapy from having a “neutral” therapeutic environment that is separate from all other personal relationships, roles and responsibilities. It is this neutrality, in part, which makes the counseling office a safe place to share oneself.


Families enter the RCCS Counseling Program for a variety of reasons. Children in the family may be experiencing or demonstrating behavior or feelings which are a concern to their parents, teachers, day care providers, medical personnel or to the children themselves. Parents may seek counseling to learn parenting, coping, and/or conflict resolution skills. The family may be facing a difficult transition, trauma or change such as a pending divorce, birth of a child, or disclosure or behavior which suggests abuse or trauma to one of the children in the family.


Although certain affiliates of RCCS are ineligible for counseling services (see above), workshops, trainings and consultations on child behavior and parenting are available to providers and parents on a time-limited basis. Counselors may also be available to observe and work with children at a child care or preschool site. These consultations and site visits generally do not exceed three sessions. Providers or children requiring more than one to three sessions will be referred to appropriate services.


Fees are on a sliding scale for counseling, based on family income and size. No one will be denied services due to inability to pay.

There is no fee for consultation to RCCS contracted providers. Initial consultations to private providers and centers are provided free of charge; subsequent consultations (generally not exceeding three sessions) are provided on a fee-for-service basis.

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Copyright 2016 River to Coast Children's Services (RCCS)
16300 First Street (PO Box 16), Guerneville, CA 95446  ·  Tel: (707) 869-3613  ·  Fax: (707) 869-2616