For young people in the best of circumstances, finding one’s place in the world is a challenge. For youth who are aging out of the child protection system, a successful move to self-sufficiency is even more difficult, requiring special preparation and support to overcome the sometimes insurmountable obstacles.
Young people transitioning out of the foster care system are significantly affected by the instability that accompanies long periods of out-of-home placement during childhood and adolescence. The experiences of these youth place them at a higher risk for unemployment, poor educational outcomes, health issues, early parenthood, long-term dependency on public assistance, increased rates of incarceration, and homelessness. They enter into society with few resources and numerous challenges.
Crossroads Programs offers a continuum of transitional living programs, both treatment home and foster care based, that prepare youth in the child welfare system a solid foundation for successful, independent living through building of assets, skills, and resources.
Kerri and Maxine's Houses
Kerri’s House and Maxine’s House were named in honor of two of Crossroads Programs’ cherished employees, Kerri Valenti and Maxine Cole.
Kerri’s and Maxine’s House provide crisis stabilization and assessment services for young boys and girls, ages 5 to 12 in a safe, stable therapeutic treatment home setting. The program was designed for the Division of Child Protection and Permanency based on an identified need for a program that could provide stability and assessment to youth who were unable to stabilize in traditional community settings which put them regularly at risk of continual transitions from placement to placement.
Admissions to Kerri’s and Maxine’s House are 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. Providing emergent opportunities for up to 10 total youth, 5 per home, who have experienced instability as a result of varying degrees of trauma, abuse, neglect, or exploitation in combination with behavioral challenges. During their stay at Kerri’s and Maxine’s House, youth receive services that include bio-psychosocial, psychiatric, and physical health assessments in order to identify appropriate treatment needs and develop an appropriate care plan.
The clinical team at Kerri’s and Maxine’s House offers comprehensive therapeutic services on site and in the community including individual, family and group therapy as well as allied therapies. The clinical team and support staff work with youth to build coping and self-regulation skills through positivity and the Nurtured Heart Approach .… all within just a 45-day length of stay! In addition, education, medical, recreational and transitionary services are also part of the team approach to stabilizing behaviors, building skills, and gaining insight to appropriately prepare for a youth to return to family or other family-like, non-clinical community setting.
Mount Holly House
A place to call ‘home.’ A place to call ‘safe.’
During the spring of 2014 Crossroads Programs established a residential home for five girls, ages 13-17. Before walking through the doors of the new Mount Holly House, these girls had experienced varying degrees of trauma and had multiple disabilities. Though very different in their needs and levels of achievement, all had one thing in common: they needed our help, our love and our support.
Staffed 24 hours a day with clinicians, social workers and critical support staff, Mount Holly House offered a way toward appropriate levels of independence and sustainability for these girls, all of whom had experienced the kinds of emotional and behavioral damage that pain and hurt can inflict.
Our highly trained staff members – which include a Life Skills coach – are all experienced in CPR and CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute) to help them work with individuals whose disabilities often create complex diagnoses. Crossroads also provides a diverse array of allied therapy services including group, family and individual counseling as well as recreational therapies like music, art and dance. Our staff is on hand to support, guide, direct and lead the girls into a productive use of their skills, along with ways to build strong character and develop a sense of empowerment.
Under the direction of Crossroads’ staff, the girls of Mount Holly House receive educational mentoring and tutoring, career planning when appropriate, learn job readiness skills and receive “life lesson” training to include cooking, grocery shopping, money management, the importance of savings and more.
Though their days are busy and full, there’s always time for rewarding and fun outside activities such as ice skating, movies, restaurants, plays and museums. Something is always happening at Mount Holly House!
And because the future is so important, staff works with the girls on development of short and long term goals, promoting self- esteem and teaching them how to make healthy and productive choices about their lives.
Do you know a girl who could use the help Mount Holly House can provide? For more information and details call Kristen Merchant at 609 405 0959 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Capable Adolescent Mothers
Crossroads Programs’ Capable Adolescent Mothers program offers a longer-term residence and support system to young pregnant or parenting mothers age 16 to 21, in a safe and nurturing family home setting. In addition to a homelike environment, the program offers a comprehensive array of services to support the healthy development of both mothers and infants. Young pregnant mothers, who enter the program voluntarily, receive access to prenatal care as well as individual and group therapy. After giving birth these services for young mothers and their infants continue and include nursing care, an infant stimulation program, access to pediatric care, and nutritional oversight. Young mothers in the Capable Adolescent Mothers program, participate in individual and group therapy, life and parenting skills and have the opportunity to attend school locally with their child and/or work part-time.
Capable Adolescent Mothers offers 24-hour supervision, 7 days a week by well-trained nurturing staff who provide direct support with compassion and care that empowers young mothers to focus on their future with confidence.
Crossroads Programs offers young pregnant or parenting mothers two options within one program; a group home setting or a specialty licensed treatment home setting. The determination of which setting is best for the young mother is made upon admission through evaluation of her parenting and life skills. The opportunity for a treatment home setting remains for a young mother and her child and is revisited during treatment meetings by her and her team. The option to transition to a treatment home setting provides young mothers additional opportunity for independence and success transitioning to adulthood.
The Dalton House Transitional Living Program is a group home for 16- to 21-year-old youth who are in the child welfare system, and whose behavioral health needs cannot be met by their family or guardians due to imprisonment, mental health issues, substance abuse, or death. The program helps the youth, who may be new to the system or been in since early childhood, understand their emotional needs, and counsels them on adopting constructive behaviors, while they begin to practice the skills needed for independent living as they “age out” of the child welfare system.
The therapeutic yet family-like environment, where youth can participate in home, school, work, and community events as any typical teenager would, provides the foundation for the youth’s social, emotional, and psychological growth while they gain a sense of belonging that they may have been missing throughout prior placements or home life.
By providing an emotionally stable, family-style environment, the process of normalizing their daily lives helps youth gain a sense of belonging. This positive approach to their day-to-day functioning, as well as their future, allows them to stabilize emotionally, recognize and develop their talents and strengths, and begin to acquire the skills and assets required to successfully transition into self-sufficient young adulthood.
- Program Contact Information
Phone: 609-267-6666 • Fax: 609-265-9162
- Darlene Dalton, LPC
Rites of Passage
Rites of Passage transitional housing program provides a stable living, group home environment with supportive services that empower youth and assist them with the skills needed to successfully transition to independent living. The goal of helping youth become self-sufficient, contributing members of society, with positive, responsible attitudes and relationships, is achieved by giving them opportunities to experience both the responsibilities and rewards of independent living within a supportive structure.
The Rites of Passage program is for aging-out male and female youth, ages 17 1/2 to 21 years of age, who are in need of a supportive setting to help them stabilize emotionally, begin to acquire skills, and successfully transition out of the child protection system.
The youth most likely to be successful in this program are those who have been introduced to independent living skills and concepts and are eager to begin this journey toward true interdependent community living. A minimum level of motivation to be self-sufficient is necessary for success. In Crossroads’ continuum of transitional programs for youth aging out of foster care, Rites of Passage is the most advanced phase and allows the most independence and opportunity to evaluate true self-sufficiency.
The intent is to participate in a communal living environment with housemates, each coming and going as needed to accomplish their specific goals. The normalcy of the environment is emphasized, discouraging previous attitudes about being in a group home or foster home and enlarging their vision of the choices they face and the future they will create.
The underlying strategy for services is to give youth a meaningful role in shaping their own destinies. The program helps youth acquire and master new skills by giving them opportunities to practice in real life situations. The focus is on preparing youth for true independent living by mastering both “hard” (maintaining a checking account, using a computer, buying food) and “soft” (taking responsibility for self, getting along with others, making sound decisions) skills.