Initial Inquiry

Please note:  This text has been copied from old format but has not yet been fully updated. This revision has progressed to the point that inaccurate information has been removed or revised, but much information needs to be added -- and will be.

If you are thinking about engaging us to work with you, it is important that we clearly understand what to expect of each other.  Some families considering our services want more information than others. We encourage prospective clients to thoroughly read this page and the pages linked, then interview us over the phone before engaging us.  Even if you have definitely decided you want us to work with you and you don't want to take time to read everything, please at least read carefully Our Procedure and Home Visit. Then, proceed to Purchase Information and follow the links indicated on that page.    All families obtaining personal and individual services must read and understand the above pages and links in order to do business with us.

Contact us to ask questions.    Phone calls need not occur during normal business hours.  Phone calls are normally answered in the Eastern Time Zone USA (same as New York).  All late night calls will go to Voice Mail.  Any call could go to voice mail. We attempt to return all calls promptly; overnight calls first thing in the morning.

If you are a parent reading this at a time of crisis, we empathize with you.  We want to help you understand what we can do for you and that we will do it as sensitively as possible.  We want you to take time to consider your best course of action, whether or not you ultimately use our services.  You are welcome to contact us with no cost or obligation while you explore options to obtain guidance for yourself.

Currently, everyone who calls to inquire about our services will have the opportunity to speak with Tom. He will offer some helpful information whether or not the caller contracts.   We expect to continue this until are sufficiently well developed to provide meaningful help to those  who cannot afford our personal service.

Our clients

Almost all of our clients are families with a young person (child, teenager, or young adult and sometimes older adult) with a behavioral, emotional, maturity, or psychological problem and they are looking to us to help determine and implement a strategic solution. Occasionally, we also work with an older adult. Some do not have such problems on an ongoing basis but have had an isolate behavioral issue that warrants a change of schools.  Many of those clients are contemplating utilizing a residential school or treatment facility when they engage us. We do provide referrals to schools and treatment facilities, but in some situations we advise families against that step.

Although almost all of our clients approach us because of a challenge to be met or an obstacle to be overcome, we do not limit our recommendations to placement in therapeutic or behavioral schools and programs.  Many of our clients remain at home with some support from us or others;  many others participate in residential or other programming away from home such as academic boarding schools and summer programs for high functioning young people, like Outward Bound and NOLS(Incidentally, we do not support offerings by those groups targeting youth at risk; we do not recommend their programs specifically designed for "at risk" young people; our referrals to those organizations are limited to people who are clearly fully qualified for admission to their programming for high functioning young people.)

Intervention services

A small but increasing number use us to intervene with an adult who has been resisting necessary treatment. Often our usual service and methods work well in that situation.  When classic intervention methods ( "Johnson Style" Intervention Method) came on the scene many years ago, our consultant, Tom Croke, became highly skilled in coaching families through that. While we still have the capability of guiding families through that method, we now tend to use other methods more frequently. If you think this service might apply to your situation, please phone us to discuss this.

The following resources provide information on our more typical services:

Behaviors and concerns

if you want to know some of the kinds of behaviors and concerns that prompt families to come to us or another consultant.   If these seem familiar to you, chances are you are facing a problem of a kind that we have helped families confront previously.

Why a consultant?

We don’t believe every family with the experiences noted in the previous link needs to work with a consultant.   Some will get what they need from the Internet and other resources. We are developing to help parents make decisions from   information found on the Internet.   to learn the ways in which consultants in general can be helpful to families. This page is designed to help you decide whether ANY consultant might be right for you. It is not focused on whether or not we are the best choice for you.

Why FamilyLightsm?

We believe FamilyLightsm is the best choice for many families but not for every family. to see an outline of the characteristics of FamilyLightsm that make us different from others and make us right (or wrong) for you.   Please note that all of the following links might also be helpful with understanding that. While this link is a general outline and summary, the following links focus on particular areas.


At FamilyLight we do things differently from any other educational consultant or consultant firm. The word “unique” gets over-used, but our procedure is truly unique.   For a description of our procedure please go to this page.  


In order to better understand how our approach is unusual, we have included vignettes describing how FamilyLightsm has helped some families in the past. The selected list of vignettes is weighted to focus on services FamilyLightsm has provided that we think other consultants would not provide.   This page is to be developed.  

Comments and testimonials

Families and clinicians who have worked with us in the past have provided comments about FamilyLightsm services.   to read some of those comments.  Being developed.

Why NOT choose FamilyLight

Some families have not worked out well for us.   Similarities can be observed in these family situations.   To learn more about clients who may be better served by another approach.

Frequently asked questions

We are asked many questions about our services.   For some of the most frequently asked questions and our answers.

What does it cost?

We encourage you to phone our office to discuss fees. While our customary fees are significant, as might be expected for a highly skilled professional service, our fees are a small fraction of the cost of a therapeutic school or treatment service.   We do lower our fees for clients who meet two criteria:

  • Financial hardship
  • Need for our services, with ability to pay for services we might refer to (probably from an unusual outside source), but that funding source does not cover our fee.

So we are not misleading anyone, most of our work involves referral to very expensive programming that must be paid out of pocket. Usually people who have a financial struggle with our charges are simply unable to be anywhere near the ability to cover the cost of the facilities to which would refer. Insurance money may help, but rarely fully covers costs of residential services. So these criteria are only likely to be met when families have access to an outside source of funding that will cover services to which we might refer but that source will not cover our fees.  If you think you meet both of these criteria, don't hesitate to ask for reduced charges.  Reduced charges are not a negotiation like you might encounter buying a car.

Thank you for your interest.

Please read our full disclaimer. You are responsible for verifying our information before acting on it.

Anyone  can write anything about anyone on the web. Usual legal remedies for defamation, slander, and libel do not work so well regarding postings on the web.  

If you see troubling information about a school or program or a professional, call  the organization or person being attacked to learn what they have so say.  The person you call will appreciate the call.  After you have heard all sides make any decision you must make. If you just avoid services under attack without checking it out, you may miss a great opportunity.    That is true even where our opinions are at issue. You will note that when we know of credible people disagreeing with our opinion we often point that out on this website. Decisions are best made by considering multiple opinions.

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Last updated February 9, 2017

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