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.
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
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
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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