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Transitional Living At A Glance

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Research relative to long term positive outcomes of RTC care tells us that the “stability of the discharge environment” is among the top two most important factors to consider. This simply means that the environment the child returns to after graduation must be the right fit for the child, in terms of home, social, academic and other components. In some cases, for a variety of reasons a return to the home is not the optimal choice for some children.

There are a number of options for recent RTC graduates, including transitional boarding schools. Transitional boarding schools are step down programs designed to help create a smooth transition out of structured treatment environments. However, a short time after opening Solstice RTC, our team realized a need amongst many of our graduates. Many of the step-down programs available did not meet the needs of many of our graduates. There are many reasons for this, whether it is too much, or too little structure, or not enough support or therapy, or for some other reason there was a need for another option. This is when we developed our own step-down program called The Journey Home.

The Journey Home is a community-based step-down program focused on the five core principles of adolescent and young adult development:

  1. Healthy Living – includes holistic emphasis on several needs including mental/emotional, physical, relational/social, spiritual
  2. Education – including high school, college, vocational, skills and interests assessment and development.
  3. Life Skills – Financial (budgeting, balancing check book, saving), daily living (cleaning, hygiene, etc), shopping, cooking, organizational & time management skills, job searching including resume writing, interview skills, etc.
  4. Personal Responsibility – time management, task completion, keeping commitments
  5. Social Integration – community service, recreational activities, dating, healthy socialization & group activities

The Journey Home seeks to instill these 5 principles by providing an environment that:

  • Is drug-free, alcohol-free, tobacco-free-including random drug and nicotine testing
  • Is administered with a “conservative parenting style”.
  • Allows for attendance at public or private high school, community college or university
  • Encourages part-time employment and/or service opportunities
  • Provides regular physical fitness and recreational activities
  • Teaches self-sufficiency through meal preparation, grocery shopping, budgeting, etc.
  • Provides individual, family and group therapies

The Journey Home is an excellent step-down, transitional program for girls who have graduated an RTC, therapeutic wilderness program, or other therapeutic program that continue to need a supportive environment and culture to support them in their ongoing goals. The Journey Home is not just for Solstice graduates, but any girl aged 16-21 who has completed a therapeutic program and is committed to ongoing success and progress.

Located in a close-knit cul-de-sac neighborhood, there is no better place for a teenager or young adult female who has graduated from an RTC, therapeutic wilderness program or therapeutic boarding school to be reintroduced into community-based living.

The Journey Home is not necessarily a correct fit for every girl in these situations. The profile of a girl who is a good fit and most likely to succeed at Solstice includes the following:

  • 16-21 yrs old
  • Has recently successfully completed a therapeutic program
  • Is committed to ongoing goals including sobriety; including no tobacco.
  • Has a plan for ongoing success.
  • Has demonstrated a degree of responsible decision-making and good judgment.
  • Can manage fair amount of freedom to make choices, set schedule and keep commitments.
  • Has average IQ or above.

While the Journey Home is a significant “step-down” in structure from a therapeutic program like an RTC, it has no phases or level systems. However, girls do progress to higher levels of privileges and freedom as they demonstrate responsibility, and the ability to manage the freedom they have. Some of the privileges girls will earn as they demonstrate responsible decision making include:

  • Having their own cell phone
  • Having computer with internet access
  • Ability to get a part time job
  • Ability to socialize with friends away from the house during their free time
  • Ability to attend social events like dances, movies, outings, concerts, dates etc.
  • Ability to invite friends to the house to hang out.

In addition to weekly meetings with their individual therapist, Journey Home clients also meet regularly with their guide. A “guide” is a journey home houseparent that is assigned to an individual client. Each client has a guide that acts as a mentor, and advocate for the client. Their role is to help support the client in keeping focused on their goals and objectives relative to the five core principles identified above. The guide becomes a great asset for each client; another person they can reach out to for support, advice direction, etc, in helping then achieve their goals. These meetings help the clients stay focused on their priorities, rather than allowing distractions to get them off track. They become an invaluable resource in helping the girls progress in their journey and apply the skills they are learning in effective ways.

NOTES

Solstice uses a unique, integrated therapeutic approach that combines highly qualified clinical professionals, a variety of interventions, and a team-based approach that involves all Solstice staff, the students, and our student families.
Together with our students and their families, we see incredible changes.  We see them every day.