What is Waterford Country School’s Emergency Shelter Program?
Waterford Country School’s Emergency Shelter Program provides short term assessment and respite care for children and adolescents aged 11 to 17 who are in need of a safe place to stay in a time of transition or crisis.
- What is the Emergency Shelter/STAR Program?
Waterford Country School operates three Short Term Assessment and Respite (STAR) homes on the WCS Campus in Quaker Hill. All three STAR programs have a licenced six-bed capacity.
The Bent Shelter STAR Home has two units of six-bed capacity - both a boy's and a girl's program. The Bent Shelter program predominately serves residents of Eastern Connecticut.
Shelter residents receive a diversified program of services, including crisis intervention and brief treatment. Full time Master’s level clinicians provide extensive case management services, as well as individual, group, and family therapy. Onsite psychiatric and nursing care is provided. Children generally remain in their current schools after admission. If appropriate, a child may be referred to the Waterford Country School Special Education Program.
Supervision is provided around the clock by highly trained child care workers dedicated to the physical and emotional well-being of the children and adolescents in their care. The entire STAR team is trained The CARE Model (Children and Residential Experiences) and TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention) out of Cornell University.
The shelter team strives to create an environment that is developmentally appropriate and individualized to the children. The therapeutic relationships at the STAR enables the residents to better face the multitude of challenges and stresses in their daily lives and helps effect future positive change in behaviors. The schedule allows time for a variety of recreational opportunities and group activities both on and off campus.
- How are the Emergency Shelter Program Services Accessed?
Children and adolescents who become residents of the Shelter Program are referred by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF).
A child or adolescent’s stay at the Waterford Country School Shelter is a stepping-stone in preparation for his or her next placement, whether it be returning home, going to a foster home, independent living, or another form of residential care.
As such, a critical role of the Emergency Shelter Program staff is to partner with DCF case managers and family members to assess each resident’s specialized needs, and, together, develop a treatment plan that ensures access to the services and resources required. This may include medical or dental care, psychiatric counseling, family support services, or other community-based resources.
- Information for parents and caregivers of residents
All residents have a Masters level Clinician assigned to them. That clinician is the main point of contact with the family and caregivers. Family visits and home passes as well as family therapy are arranged collaboratively with the family/guardian, DCF Social Worker, the child, and STAR clinician.
All three STAR Programs are supported by Program Director Matt Menghi, and Assistant Program Director Jenna Baerlocher, MFT.
Bent Shelter's clinicians are Boy's Clinician Kate Griffith, LMSW and Girl's Clinician Katy England, MA.
Parents and caregivers can contact the shelter at 860-444-1994 for more information.