The Group Home provides a structured living environment for up to 9 residents in a home-like setting in Jackson. The Group Home program is divided into four phases:
- Orientation – Residents are oriented to the rules and expectations of the program. During this time the residents are always supervised by staff except when they are in school
- Identification – Residents begin to identify areas in which they could improve
- Application – Residents have identified areas for change and are practicing new skills and behaviors in the Group Home, school, family and community
- Transition – Residents will be integrating new skills into their daily lives
Expectations and privileges expand with each phase as the resident learns new skills and ways of coping. Components of the program include:
- Individual and family therapy
- Individualized treatment plans that residents develop with their therapist and their parents – treatment plans are reviewed and updated as goals are met.
- Planned home visits that build on residents’ program phase and their progress in family therapy
- Regularly scheduled supervised activities
- Point sheets provide feedback to the resident on a daily basis – points are based on following rules and schedule, participation in program, respect for others and general behavior
- Monthly reports to parents, caseworkers and Guardian ad Litems that are compilations of point sheets and daily logs
- School monitoring and scheduled study time – residents attend public school
- Case Management with all those involved including parents, schools and other agencies
- Discharge planning and aftercare
Family involvement is a key factor in the success of a resident at the Group Home. At intake, family input results in more relevant goals since they know their child better than anyone. As the child struggles with beginning work on goals, family support and encouragement are vital, and in order to return home successfully, the family and resident need to practice new skills together to break old patterns.
Parents participate in family therapy. If a parent is not in Jackson, phone sessions are used. We encourage regular visits and phone calls with families. Home visits are an important part of the treatment process in order to practice new skills at home and evaluate progress.
When parents are involved, residents are motivated and complete the program in a shorter period of time while able to sustain long term improvement.
Common issues for our residents include family conflicts, difficulty following rules, poor decision-making and coping skills, poor school performance and truancy, and minor legal offenses. While they may need special education or behavioral assistance, they should be able to attend public school.
A referral may be made by a case worker or parent, or representative of the court. An initial screening will be conducted by the Program Manager, Therapist or Director regarding the reasons for the request and the appropriateness of the child for Group Home level of care. Psychological evaluations, social summaries, and other relevant documents are requested when available, but since some of our referrals are for those awaiting such assessments and evaluations, they are not required for admission.
Residents are usually placed at the Group Home by the Juvenile Court Judge. However, we also serve children placed for child protective custody (victims of abuse) and private placements can also be arranged.
Youths that are not appropriate for admission to the Group Home have:
- Recent history of violent episodes
- Severe developmental limitations
- Less than 10 years of age
- Active suicidal tendencies
- Severe psychiatric conditions that have not been stabilized by medication
- Need for substance detoxification
- Major medical problems that have not been stabilized