Description of treatment program(s)

It is our policy to expect that the child removed from family, home, and friends will be traumatized and we have found that the majority of those children who come to us suffer from histories of adult or familial betrayal: abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, drug, etc.), neglect, and abandonment and juvenile delinquency.

Many have been prenatal exposed to drugs and or alcohol. Such disturbing characteristics have made it imperative for us to develop and offer an intensively therapeutic program, one with a broad scope of assessment measures and therapeutic services aimed at ameliorating trauma.

We find that a majority of these minors come to us from an environment where their basic developmental needs have not been met. Their way of interacting with the world comes many times from under stimulation or no stimulation, and too often as a traumatic reaction to physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. This program will allow us to work with minors referred to the program whose age’s range from twelve through eighteen years. This program is also designed so service the hard to place youth who have traits of mental illness. This in order for a minor to enter into the program they would have to be certified by the county mental health department and approved through the screening committee for services.

Typically, a school age child has begun to master some areas of development. Many children who come to us have experienced trauma to the degree that there “normal development has been arrested or delayed. Older school age teens have often experienced a number of previous placement failures, adding the burden of multiple losses to an already traumatic past. Difficulties with attachment and trust are pervasive. Many of these children have difficulty with authority and exhibit behavior towards adults on both ends of the spectrum; extremely needy and dependent or defiant and oppositions. Many of the minors we serve show developmental delays and academic impairment. Most display personality problems, including low self-esteem, poor social relationships, and on-going behavioral difficulties. The five major developmental categories that The Group Home generally addresses therapeutically are:

  1. Motor skills

  2. Language acquisition

  3. Cognitive/learning development

  4. Social development

  5. Personality/psychological development

Although a child’s level of ability can be tested and isolated within each category, we operate under the premise that strong relationships exist between physical, mental, and emotional factors in children. In addition delays and trauma do not effect the child as singular features. They very often overlap so that a minor with expressible language delays is often likely to have difficulty with developing social relationships. Within The Group Home the most common behavioral symptoms of trauma defense mechanisms, or maladaptive coping responses we observe are:

  1. a sense of shame and worthlessness

  2. withdrawal

  3. feelings of helplessness

  4. aggression

  5. expressive language development delays

  6. delays in fine motor skills

  7. poor impulse control

  8. difficulty forming relationships(attachment)

  9. self destructive behavior

  10. depression

The Group Home will be an environment, which is both safe and stimulating for the minors. This is based upon the recognition that no child will be likely to act unless he can trust his environment and those around him to be safe and encouraging. A special team has been developed to provide such a milieu; and they are continually being trained in skills that can enhance the child’s daily growth. Each child is supported throughout his daily routine by a paraprofessional staff who uses their time helping the minors learn appropriate ways of interacting effectively with peers and with adults.