Waterford Country School is proud to announce the launch of a new program. Hunts Brook Academy is an alternative education program for middle school age boys. The Hunts Brook therapeutic boarding school program is designed for families with children who have social, emotional or behavioral challenges and are seeking an environment that fosters positive behavioral change. The goal is to create a pattern of successful and positive experiences for our students as they live and learn on our beautiful campus.
This is an exciting new venture for us. We believe all that we have learned through the CARE model and our success using it will be a huge benefit to other struggling families. To find out more about this new venture visit: www.huntsbrookacademy.org
Our first Hunts Brook Open House is coming up soon. Join us on May 31st from 9-4pm!!! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Waterford Country School is pleased to announce it has been accepted into the OPTUM behavioral health network for children’s and adolescents’ outpatient treatment, crisis stabilization and residential treatment. Waterford Country School is now a network service participant for Anthem and OPTUM. We also have the ability to bill for many insurances out of network—please ask us to research your family’s policy. For outpatient treatment contact Waterford Country School’s Norwich office at 860-886-7500. For crisis stabilization and residential treatment contact our admissions director at 860-442-9454 x525.
Sincere thanks to Lisa and Jim, adoptive parents of Maya, who recently celebrated her 2nd birthday. They helped to raise $465 for “Project CT’s Child” by having their friends and family members make donations in lieu of gifts at her birthday party, then they matched that amount themselves! These funds will be used towards the home study services for a family who is planning to adopt a child from the CT state foster system.
On October 6th and 7th Waterford Country School hosted Martha Holden from Cornell University’s Residential Child Care Project and author of the (CARE) model. The Residential Child Care Project has been invited to over 40 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, Russia, Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom with its ongoing programs to prevent institutional child abuse and improve the quality of residential childcare. The widely disseminated Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) System is used in hundreds of residential child care institutions an d has also been adapted for other congregate care settings, as well as for foster and adoptive families. The Children and Residential Experiences (CARE) project implements and evaluates a program model based on a set of research-based principles to help child care agencies re-align their organizational practices around the best interests of children.
Waterford Country School is very fortunate to be one of the first agencies in the country to experience Cornell University’s new Children and Residential Experiences (CARE) Program. CARE is a “best practice” model that creates conditions for change for youth in congregate care. We have been involved with Cornell since we adopted the Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) Program in 1994. TCI is a comprehensive program designed to guide staff in their working with youth during a crisis. 100% of our direct care, clinical, education and administrative staff are trained in this model.
Released in 2008, CARE is a brilliantly crafted framework for children in out of home care based upon a thorough review of the literature and research. It identifies six principal domains of treatment and builds a set of guidelines for staff around these domains. The CARE framework meets each child where they are developmentally and helps guide them to an enhanced level of functioning. The model is built upon the premise that children do well if they can. This framework charges staff to find what contributes to a child’s developmental disruption and to address those issues to get them back on track.
CARE emphasizes the importance of a congruent approach on all levels and across all persons, the youth in care, their families and the staff. All WCS staff whether they are direct care workers or administrative staff are trained in the CARE model to keep the agency’s approach consistent. In 2009 we adopted the CARE model as our agency model and became trained by Martha Holden, Tom Endres and Jack Holden from the Cornell Residential Child Care Project. We were then given the ability to provide our own CARE trainers so that everyone in the agency was part of this new way of operation. Since then, every new staff member has been trained in CARE. We have learned about the importance of shifting rules to expectations, moving from control to order, being flexible in our expectations, and shifting from consistency across children to consistency within children. It has completely changed our outlook from being “crisis oriented” to being “relationship oriented”. Our physical restraint percentage has been drastically reduced while our relationships with the kids we work with has improved. We have had such success with the CARE approach that we are now asked to share our journey with others.
On October 7th, 2016 Waterford Country School hosted nine agencies and Martha Holden for a Community of Practice Event. Martha presented updates on CARE and answered questions. Each agency was given time to share their own journey to CARE. The attendees broke into focus group discussions on how to bring CARE or continue rolling out the model in their own agencies. It was a wonderful day for us to reflect on how far we’ve come. Our Agency now has the direction that it has sought for so long. CARE is our framework for treatment and our guide for providing the highest level of services for our youth and their families. We are so inspired by the changes we’ve seen and hope to encourage others to their own success.
If you are an expectant parent and considering an adoption plan for your baby, you can listen to this short interview by one of our past birth mothers. She talks about how she decided to choose an open adoption for her son.
Waterford Country School is proud to be chosen one of the region’s Top Workplaces in 2016! There are lots of ways to measure a workplace, The Hartford Courant believes that the best way is by asking the employees themselves. In 2016, 975 organizations in Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, Windham and New London counties were nominated. Workplace Dynamics, LLP a research firm sent surveys to 25,169 employees at participating organizations, and 16,208 responded. The survey questions asked about workplace ethics, communication, opportunity for growth, leadership and staff support. The specific criteria met rigorous standards and 61 out of the original 975 were awarded Top Workplace in 2016.
To celebrate the award, WCS staff and leadership attended a dinner on September 15th at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT. 7 of Waterford Country School’s staff were able to attend the awards dinner. Dennis Fields, WCS Supervisor remarked, “Being recognized as one of the top workplaces in Connecticut was rewarding. It also motivated me to be a part of the push we need that will take us to becoming the #1 work place in our area. To see the people that received that top honor… it was incredible.”
“This award is truly reflective of the amazing group of staff we have here at WCS,” credits Executive Director, Bill Martin.
The employers that you see in Top Workplace 2016 are all winners. We are proud to be acknowledged for what we already know…the Waterford Country School family is a great place to be.
Before he could get a word out, one graduating Senior, started by warning the audience “This is emotional for me…” Looking around the gymnasium filled with Waterford Country School staff, families, kids, founding family members, caregivers, special advocates, DCF workers, foster families and friends…it was obviously emotional for everyone. Not a dry eye in the room.
What do you say about kids who come to a special school with incredibly tough backgrounds, both personally and academically? What do you do when you realize without this little school with about 70 kids nestled in the woods of Quaker Hill, these 3 young adults would not be holding diplomas and moving on into young adulthood with success? You find yourself getting emotional. The Director of the WCS Residential Treatment Program, Emily Thomson says, “It’s pretty remarkable…coming in, you see a child who doesn’t want to be here…and you get to watch them grow right before your eyes.” On June 16th, awards were handed out for achievement in the lower school, 8th grade graduates were recognized and the 3 high school graduates received their diplomas. You could see how proud they were and how close they had become as a group as younger children hugged and congratulated their older peers.
The beaming smile that never left graduating Senior Magan Alejandro’s face all through the procession, ceremony and picture-taking says it all. “Magan is incredibly resilient, she is a young lady now, she advocates for herself, she knows what she wants and she’s going after it.” From her time in the WCS Residential program to the Therapeutic Foster Care Program and her year with us at the Special Education Progam…”She’s a success story. We hope she comes back in a few years and speaks to our kids.”
On hand to watch Magan and the other graduates were her mom, foster parents, DCF worker, a CT judge and founding family member Herb Schacht (at 93 years young!). She invited everyone who played a part in her arrival at this momentous day…and they came. Over 250 people came to give testimony to the work that WCS endeavors to do. Shaking hands with WCS Executive Director, Bill Martin, to receive her diploma you could hear Magan exhale excitedly, “We did it!” To which he replied “No…you did it.” Our deepest congratulations to the 3 graduating Seniors. We are so proud of who you are and how far you have come.
“This day shows the spirit of Waterford Country School, that we CAN help kids.”
This summmer marks the 5th Anniversary of Camp Cuheca’s return at Waterford Country School. Our 2016 summer day camp features new animals, new adventures on the challenge course and day tent camping.
Camp Cuheca is expanding not only the activities available on Waterford Country
The view at the Water’s Edge campsite
School’s beautiful woodland campus, but also the amount of local children who will be able to come. Last year the camp provided summer recreation for 36 campers and this year nearly 50 slots are available for children in the surrounding community. With another week added, there are now 7 weeks of summer camp from July 5-August 19. Children are provided lunch and two snacks daily. Transportation assistance
and scholarship monies raised from Kabaret’s Fund-a-Need fundraiser and a local grant will help more families be able to send their kids to camp this year.
Our thanks go out to Don Concascia and Boy Scout Troop 93 in Uncasville and Mingfei Duan and Troop 7 in East Lyme for their assistance in clearing and building firepits for our 6 new tented campsites. Camp Turtle, Camp Eagle, Camp Bear, The Pines, The Hillside and Water’s Edge are now individual sites for campers to meet in the morning, regroup and work on group initiatives with their counselor. WCS Maintenance crew did a great job building platforms and installing tents to make this “day camping” experience even more amazing for our campers. From the vision of Executive Director, Bill Martin, to the dedication of the WCS staff and the support of community members like the Boy Scout Troops…Camp Cuheca just keeps getting better and better!
We can’t wait for our 6th Annual “Bring Your Mojo” Golf Tournament in honor of Gary ‘Mr. Six’ Saunders. Consider being a sponsor for this one of a kind golf tournament. Every year there’s more surprises and every year the event is SOLD OUT! Spend a day on the beautiful course at Greck Neck Country Club and enjoy a round of golf for a great cause. All proceeds benefit kids and families at Waterford Country School. Bring your Mojo….and make a difference.