Boys come to Secret Harbor’s staffed residential homes to make positive changes in their behavior. When the boys arrive, some exhibit serious behaviors and mental health issues that make it difficult for them to succeed in a foster care setting or in their family home.
The young men referred to the program have experienced significant trauma due to abuse or neglect, and they have usually been in multiple unsuccessful placements. They need a structured setting and adults who won’t give up on them as they heal, grow and learn.
Six youth reside in each home that is richly staffed to support them as they learn new emotional and life skills that help them self-regulate their emotions and behaviors. Youth learn to identify the triggers for their behaviors and work on coping strategies. Interventions are designed for use in a home setting, at school and in the community.
The treatment home is a safe place for the boys to practice what they are learning. Changing ingrained behaviors is not an easy task. It is important that the child be allowed to practice their new skills in a supportive environment until they are successful at using them on their own without the prompting of staff members. With time, treatment and support, negative behaviors decrease in frequency, duration and intensity.
While receiving treatment services, all of the boys attend public school and they participate in community and household activities with the support of program staff. With the ability to apply what they learn in community settings, the program makes a lasting impact on their lives. Youth are encouraged to take part in day to day activities in the home like meal preparation, shopping, daily chores, and positive interactions with the other boys in the home. Boys are also encouraged to participate in recreation, community service and work programs outside of the home.
Youth are actively involved in their treatment, and their families are meaningfully engaged whenever possible from the beginning to the end of their treatment. With treatment, youth develop the emotional stability plus social and life skills they need to progress to a permanent placement in foster care, with their family or living independently.