Allendale offers its children a chance at a second childhood. They receive the opportunity to shed cynicism, develop self-esteem, and grow back into innocence and vulnerability. This time they are protected from harm and come to think of adults as kind and dependable. They learn to play and to care about others.

A Controlled Environment
Safety is the key issue for traumatized children. Keeping these children from harm involves more than keeping them safe from sexual abuse, physical abuse, drugs, and crossfire; they must also be kept safe from themselves and their peers.

A well-structured day serves the child as a kind of armature within which to build a new, less chaotic inner self. These children are looking for structure, predictability, consistency, and an environment they can understand. Residential treatment at Allendale provides all that.

A Therapeutic Environment
Residential treatment at Allendale incorporates traditional therapy—two hours a week—but we believe strongly that what goes on the rest of the time is potentially even more valuable. Our goal is to create a "therapeutic milieu," an environment in which everyday events are turned to therapeutic use while they are happening and the child’s feelings are still fresh.

Any event in a child’s day—from refusing to get dressed in the morning, to answering a question correctly at school, to picking a fight—offers our staff an opportunity to teach, change, or reinforce behavior through therapeutic intervention.

We have a large and experienced staff of therapists, all with at least a master’s degree in their field, and roughly a dozen licensed psychologists. All of our staff that work with the children in the cottages are professionally trained. We’re highly aware of the issues related to attachment disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Planning for Life After Allendale
Allendale is not meant to be home forever. A typical stay lasts from several months to two years, after which most children return to their birth families, or enter foster or adoptive families. Those who have no homes to go to or do not wish to go home move on to less restrictive group homes or to independent living arrangements.

The goal of permanency planning is to return the child to a family, biological or otherwise, whenever possible and as quickly as possible.

When we can, we maintain close communication with the parents of the children we treat. We offer counseling for parents and the entire family. We encourage parents to visit, and we reward the children with visits home on weekends. Our objective is to discharge healthier children into the care of healthier parents.


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