Waterford Country School
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Frequently Asked Questions

Kids on Bars

1. What is Waterford Country School?
Waterford Country School is a private, not-for-profit, human services agency that offers a wide range of programs and services for children and families from throughout the State of Connecticut, with a focus on working with individuals, organizations and agencies from the Eastern region.

2. How long has the School been serving the region's disadvantaged children?
Waterford Country School began serving disadvantaged children in 1922, and has been located at its present site in Quaker Hill since 1929.

3. What programs are offered by the School?
There are six primary programs offered by Waterford Country School:

  • Residential Treatment - a 24 hour a day interdisciplinary therapeutic program for up to 52 special-needs boys and girls ages 10 to 18. The primary presenting problems for these children and youth are emotional disturbance and behavioral problems. The average length of stay in this program is 12-14 months.
  • Special Education - a comprehensive special education academic, pre-vocational, behavior management, and life skills program for residential and local day students.
  • Experiential Education - a program of custom-designed, "hands-on" educational experiences using the assets of the school's children's farm, science center, and adventure based challenge "ropes course." These programs are also available to local schools and community groups.
  • Therapeutic Foster Care - a community-based program providing a home-like "growing up" family for 60 children and adolescents experiencing trauma as a result of poor parenting, abuse, neglect, or abandonment. The treatment focus is on training of the family to be the primary change agent in providing unconditional care.
  • Emergency Shelter - a short-term (90 day maximum intended stay), shelter for children ages 10-18 who are in need of an immediate, appropriate place to stay. Children reside in either the Thomas Bent Shelter or Rita's House Shelter, which together provide a total of 20 emergency beds.
  • Safe Homes - a short term (45 day maximum intended stay), coed safe haven for children aged 6 to 16 who have been removed from home for the first time due to abuse and neglect. A multi disciplinary evaluation is performed for all children to assist in planning for return to a safe community based home setting. The program has the capability to keep large sibling groups together and houses children in two cottages with a total of 20 beds.
  • Family Preservation and Reunification - WCS's newest program works to strengthen families at risk of disruption who reside throughout New London County. In-home social workers provide intensive counseling, case management, and 24 hour, 7 day a week support for a 12-16 week period.
  • Group Home - Our Group Home Program offers support for transitional living opportunities for boys. WCS has a Group Homes in Norwich.

4. Where is the School located?
Waterford Country School's main campus is located on 350-acres in rural Southeastern Connecticut in the New London-Waterford area. It is easily accessible from Routes I-95 and I-395. The property includes, in addition to the main campus area, a working farm, horseback riding ring, Ropes Course, Log Cabin Lodge meeting-retreat center and other recreational facilities that are made available for use by community groups. WCS off-site facilities include two Group Homes (Norwich and Montville) and Foster Care Programs/Training Center at Clinic Drive, Norwich.

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5. How do students gain admittance to Waterford Country School?
Prospective students for the Residential Treatment Program are referred to the School by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). Before any referred child is admitted, a thorough evaluation is conducted to determine whether he or she would benefit from the School's program. Admittance of day students into the special education program is through direct contact with the local education agency of the student's home town. Children in this program may be from throughout the State of Connecticut.

Children are admitted to the Safe Homes and Emergency Shelter programs through the regional office of DCF, located in Norwich, and must be from the Eastern Region. The Norwich office of DCF may be reached at (860) 886-2641.

6. Is Waterford Country School an accredited agency?
Waterford Country School has achieved National Accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Services for Families and Children. It is licensed as a Child Caring and Child Placing Agency by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, and the Education program is approved by the Connecticut Department of Education.

7. How are the School's programs funded?
Waterford Country School receives funding from the State of Connecticut on a per diem basis to cover the costs of basic services for residential students. Tuition for day students in the special education program is paid by the students' home towns. WCS also has contracts with the Department of Children and Families to provide Emergency Shelter, Safe Home and Therapeutic Foster Care services to children from the Eastern Region.

Because these payments are sufficient to cover only the most basic services and programs, the School must rely heavily on the generosity of the community it serves to ensure that the highest standards of care can be maintained.