Children's Prevention Services > The LIFE/Incredible Years Program

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The LIFE/Incredible Years (IY) Program

Description of service provided:
The LIFE program services elementary age students in Elk and Cameron counties.  LIFE is a school-based prevention program that provides goal-oriented services to students and their families. Services are individualized to address the needs/areas of concern of each identified student.  Caseworkers work cooperatively with students, their families, and school personnel on the development specific goals for each student. These goals, along with the methods that will be used to assist each child in reaching their goals, are put into a support plan; no two support plans are the same. Caseworkers work directly with the students in the classroom, on a one-to-one basis, or both; depending on the age and needs of each student. They also assist with and provide services to schools through various group settings such as homework groups, mentoring groups, and provision of Incredible Years (IY) group facilitation (grades K-2, more information below). LIFE/IY caseworkers also serve as care navigators.  As a Care Navigator of the mental health care system, staff assist students and families with finding appropriate mental health caregivers, facilities, and services.  Staff work collaboratively with their school’s guidance counselors and school support teams to offer assistance to other teachers who have questions or concerns about their students.

Children’s Prevention Services supports the Incredible Years Program, and incorporates the curriculum into the LIFE Program for students in Kindergarten through second grade. Incredible Years is an evidence-based program endorsed by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Research has shown that Incredible Years facilitation to young children decreases risky behaviors later in life such as delinquency, violence, and substance abuse. Incredible Years curriculum can be incorporated into participating student’s support plans, and is implemented in group settings with students in grades Kindergarten through second with lessons occurring in the classroom setting.

Caseworkers are also available to assist schools with students who are in a crisis situation. These students may be expressing threats to harm themselves or someone else, or have had something happen that has left them upset enough that they are requesting to speak to someone as soon as possible. Following a Crisis Screening, recommendations are made. Recommendations could include referral to the LIFE /IY Program, assisting the student/family with pursuing outpatient services, or referral to a hospital for a face-to-face evaluation/direct admission.  Caseworkers are also ready to assist their school’s faculty and/or students in the event of a school-wide crisis such as an accident or death of a student or faculty member.

LIFE/IY staff also facilitate summer programming in conjunction with some of the schools we serve.  Johnsonburg Elementary School offers a LIFE/IY summer program for students in grades first through sixth as well as a Kindergarten Readiness Program (KRP) open to all incoming Kindergarten students.  Summer Kindergarten Readiness Programs are also offered annually at South St. Marys Street Elementary School, (St. Marys), Fox Township Elementary School (Kersey), Bennetts Valley Elementary School, and St. Leo’s Elementary (Ridgway).  KRP is designed to help all incoming students successfully transition into Kindergarten.  The children get to meet some of their future classmates and gain a sense of familiarity with their school.  A variety of activities (including guest speakers, music, games, arts, crafts, etc.) are used to promote the following:  Listening skills; cooperation with peers and adults; communication skills; following rules and directions; socialization skills; letter, number and sound recognition; fine and gross motor skills; and proper printing techniques.  The LIFE/IY summer program for students in grades first through sixth focuses on helping children develop various skills and strategies including problem-solving, self-esteem, socialization, anger management, decision making, and communication.

Geographical area of service:
The LIFE/Incredible Years Program is offered in the following schools throughout Elk and Cameron counties:
Bennetts Valley Elementary – St. Marys Area School District
Fox Township Elementary – St. Marys Area School District
Johnsonburg Elementary – Johnsonburg Area School District
South St. Marys St. Elementary – St. Marys Area School District (SMASD)
St. Marys Catholic Elementary School – Elk County Catholic School System, SMASD
Woodland Elementary School – Cameron County School District

Admission Criteria:
Students referrals can be made for behavioral, emotional, social, and/or academic difficulties or concerns. Examples of admission reasons may include (but are not limited to) coping with anxiety, grief and loss, social skills, study skills, organization, self-esteem, and problem solving.   

How to access service:
Students are generally referred to the program through the school, however, parents may also request assistance through their school’s administration, or by contacting their school’s LIFE/IY caseworker directly.  

Address and hours of operation:
The LIFE/Incredible Years Program is part of Dickinson Inc.’s Children’s Prevention Services which is located at:

The Community Education Center Building
4 Erie Avenue
Suite 302
P.O. Box 599
St. Marys, PA 15857

Hours of operation are from 8:00am – 4:00pm.

The LIFE/IY Program is available during the regular school year.

How consumers pay for service:
The LIFE/IY Program is offered free of charge to offered to the students and their families as it is funded through our local Cameron/Elk Behavioral and Developmental Programs, the participating school districts, and other outside grants.