A new program is bringing intensive help to children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families in Clackamas and Washington counties.

Oregon Intercept, a partnership between ChristieCare and Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization, provides intensive in-home services to help children overcome problems and strengthen positive family interactions.

The two nonprofit organizations have announced a merger, which will be finalized on June 1. The name of the new organization will be Youth Villages-ChristieCare of Oregon.

Through Oregon Intercept, family intervention specialists with low caseloads meet at least three times each week in the home at the family’s convenience. Specialists are on call 24/7 to help in case of family emergencies and work in the home, community, neighborhood and school.

Help is provided to the entire family, not just the child. The program’s goal is to strengthen and restore families, to prevent at-risk youth from entering foster care or state custody and to help those children already in out-of-home placements return home to a family member as quickly as possible.

“There are so many children who can and should be safely helped at home rather than in a residential treatment center, a group home or another institution,” said Lynne Saxton, CEO of ChristieCare. She will be executive director of Youth Villages-ChristieCare of Oregon. “Keeping children who can be safely helped at home with their families is crucial because children do better with their families, and by helping the child and his or her entire family in the community, we can now also do more to help the family find long-term success.”

Oregon Intercept is modeled after Youth Villages’ successful Intercept program, an intensive in-home services program backed by more than 15 years of research. Data show that more than 80 percent of children and families continue to live successfully at home two years after completing Youth Villages’ Intercept intensive in-home program. Besides achieving above-average success rates, intensive in-home services cost one-third less when compared to traditional child services.

“The high long-term outcomes and the comparatively inexpensive cost make this program exactly what Oregon needs to help reduce the number of children in foster care in our state and improve outcomes for our most vulnerable children and families,” Saxton said. “An added benefit is that this program is highly cost-effective and allows our taxpayers to save millions of dollars otherwise spent on more expensive but often unnecessary programs or on additional follow-up services.”

ChristieCare, founded in 1859, is one of the largest and oldest providers of services to children in Oregon, providing residential treatment and education services for children from diverse cultures who are coping with significant mental health challenges.

Youth Villages is a private nonprofit organization with the mission to help emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. One of the nation’s first and largest providers of intensive in-home services, Youth Villages provides a wide array of services and this year will help more than 17,000 children and families in 11 states and Washington, D.C. Named one of the Top 50 Nonprofits to Work For by Nonprofit Times and Best Companies Group in 2010 and 2011, Youth Villages has been recognized by Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report, and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.youthvillages.org.