Posted on October 13, 2016. Category: WCS News
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.
Many thanks to Martha Holden from Cornell University, The Brandon School, Children’s Home, Community Health Resources, Hillside Family of Agencies, Martin De Porres School, Spurwink, Sweetser, and The Village for attending this CARE community event at Waterford Country School.
Posted on September 30, 2016. Category: WCS News
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.
Posted on July 8, 2016. Category: WCS News
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.”
For more information about the WCS Special Education Program visit this page.
Posted on July 5, 2016. Category: WCS News
Summer has arrived!
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!
Tented campsites for all 6 groups of Campers!
Many thanks to our campsite clearing crews!
Posted on June 23, 2016. Category: Uncategorized, WCS News
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.
Check out our BringYourMojo Promo
Download the brochure from the Golf Tournament Page Here.
Contact Development for sponsorships, donations and tickets. 860.442.9454 or email@example.com
Posted on June 23, 2016. Category: WCS News
Salsa, Bachata, Rumba, Cha Cha….a new dance program is coming to WCS! Thanks to the collaboration of Aracelis Vazquez Haye and Sue Sullivan (WCS Spiritual Life Team) and Jessica Megargle from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Niantic…this summer WCS girls and staff will get to experience ballroom dance. Jessica really wanted to use her dance studio to support and enrich the lives of WCS staff and youth. After finding that funding was an issue, Jessica planned a fundraising dance-a-thon and raised over $2000 to bring a dance program to WCS. The dance program runs July 11-August 15 at the dance studio. We are so excited to add Jessica and the dance studio to our community partnerships!
Posted on May 6, 2016. Category: WCS News
Waterford Country School has adopted the 5210 Let’s Go! Wellness Model to create an atmosphere of healthy living here on our campus and throughout our programs. It’s simple and effective. The changes were made from our residential halls to cafeteria to meeting rooms. We love spurring each other on and being a good example for healthy living for our kids. We are excited to introduce our newest 5210 spokesman who has wholeheartedly adopted our health model. Our very own WCS farm dog, Max. The winter took its toll on Max’s ability to shed his baby fat. His doctor said he needed to lose weight to live a long healthy life. So we put him on the 5210 plan and its working! All new WCS 5210 posters featuring Max are being put up around our campus programs. Since adopting the model in 2010 staff and kids have created 5210 bulletin boards, 5210 meals, 5210 projects and many stories are being shared about personal goals being met. We are so encouraged to stay on track!
The Health & Wellness Committee at Waterford Country School functions with the premise that health is not necessarily an end in itself but rather a means to a life that is meaningful from the individual’s perspective. The ultimate goal is to have an understanding of our own health needs and be an active participant in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While thinking what you can do to incorporate the 5210 model into your life, we hope you can enjoy some of the resources we have here: family open gym, our fitness room, multiple walking trails, and our fitness trail.
In May we have Mind, Body and Spirit events that continue through the month. From our walking challenge to healthy snack day, May is a great time to plan what we can do to promote a health filled lifestyle. Join Max and WCS and strive for the best each day!
Posted on August 3, 2015. Category: WCS News
Waterford Country School is excited to announce the agency will now accept Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield patients for Residential Treatment and for Children’s Outpatient Behavioral Health. For questions regarding the programs, please contact Emily Thomson at the Residential Treatment Program (860-440-4350) or Lisa Crowley at the Children’s Outpatient Clinic (860-886-7500)
Posted on October 29, 2014. Category: WCS News
“Waterford Country School opens its brand new gymnasium dedicated to Otto Graham”
Click Here To Watch Segment
WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A welcome sound in the new gymnasium at the Waterford Country School, students dribbled basketballs as the first class took the court. (more…)
Posted on July 24, 2013. Category: WCS News
Executive director says agency’s work critical to community, fits with foster care mission, needs.
The Waterford Country School, which provides services for children with special needs, acquired Connecticut Adoption Services earlier this year to prevent the organization from dissolving and to continue its mission of providing adoptions, counseling for the birth parent and in-home therapeutic services for families.
“It was just very exciting that they approached us,” school Executive Director William Martin said of Connecticut Adoption Services. “We knew them for a long time, and we tried to preserve everything that they had, including their board president and one of their board members.” (more…)