Therapeutic Group Homes
Therapeutic Group Homes
Our approach to group living is different than most other models of group care. We call our therapeutic group-living program, The Guild Academy, because our program is more like a private boarding school than a family environment or home away from home.
The boarding school concept requires each staff member to view themselves as a teacher who needs to be prepared to teach the values and skills associated with successful living. Consequently, we refer to our group care staff as our “faculty” and call the members of the faculty youth life educators and the residents “students.” We feel this is a good idea because it clarifies the direct care staff person’s role and focus.
The youth life educator does not have the same authority as the parent, and the student understands teachers come and go. The student further understands that they will graduate or learn enough in the boarding school to move to the next grade (placement). A family is forever; it is always there for the student. School is for now, and the group care facility will never be able to serve as the student’s family.
The curriculum is the heart of the group living program. It is what gives credence to the private boarding school concept and provides guidance and structure to the faculty for how to utilize daily living in a way that fosters the students’ growth and development. The areas of the curriculum include:
- Character Development
- Wellness Education
- Personal Styles
- Career Training
- Cultural Arts
- Citizenship Development
- Life Skills Training
- Study Skills
- Travel and Trips
Group Living Academy Residents
Many of the boys and girls referred to The Children’s Guild have survived much turmoil, such as multiple foster care placements; physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; neglectful or dysfunctional families; social isolation or poor interpersonal relationships; and poverty. And many of them exhibit one or more of a constellation of troubling signs of emotional disability: behavior disorders, personality disorders, psychosis, aggression, truancy, and/or delinquency.
The Guild Academy serves students ages 12 to 18 with a minimum I.Q. of 70. The homes are community-based so adolescents who are extremely violent or who are in need of incarceration are not accepted. We cannot offer programming for teens needing extensive medical care.
Group Living Academy Staff
The Guild Academy has one faculty member for every three students during “awake” hours. Night supervision also is provided in each house.
A licensed counselor provides case management services for each student as well as individual, group, and family therapy. The Children’s Guild’s psychiatrists provide psychiatric consultation and medication management (monitored by a licensed nurse), and there is 24-hour on-call psychiatric coverage.
The team meets regularly to review a student’s individual growth plan, outlining his or her individual goals. Growth plan meetings are held every 90 days.