Christ Child House offers two contracted residential programs, General Residential services, and Mental Health Behavioral Stabilization (MHBS). A primary focus of residential intervention is to engage and support family members, caregivers, and identified permanent connections, with learning skills, and support in identifying and connecting with resources to ensure youth can live in the community successfully. For those youth with no permanent family connections, the primary and urgent focus will be on permanency with a “forever family”.
Christ Child House has implemented a Trauma-Informed approach to assist with recognition and treatment of youth in foster care that have experienced complex trauma; this trauma can significantly harm individual and familial development.
The MHBS program provides more intensive and frequent services. To accommodate for the increased treatment, our case ratio has been reduced to 1 staff to every 4 children during the day, and 1 staff for every 10 children at night. The Mental Health and Behavior Stabilization Program provides for the application of a comprehensive array of services that include Psychiatric and Clinical assessments and evaluations, and corresponding interventions designed to stabilize and treat the conditions of mental health/behavioral instability. Level of service intensity is tailored to, and based on, the needs of the youth and the youth’s diagnosis at the time of intake and ongoing progress in the program.
The specialized residential treatment component on campus continues to be refined and developed in order to meet the new challenges of the severely at-risk children in our care.
For boys aged 5 to 12, we have a developmental and nurturing modality where the focus is on children achieving developmental milestones, resolving separation anxiety and trust issues, and improving social skills. For boys aged 12 to 16, we have a unique learning program, in which we focus on the continuing development of age appropriate social and life skills. The House staff utilizes a special blend of treatment, nurturance, recreation, education, and advocacy to serve our emotionally impaired youth.
Children stay in care an average of nine months, depending upon their individual treatment needs. Currently about 75% of the boys in or residence are permanent wards of the state. While youth are placed in our care, their parents are working on a treatment plan to either have their children returned to their care, or the State is working to have the youth placed into a more permanent placement.
How do youth get here?
- The boys have all been removed from their familial homes by the Court.
- We service youth from all Michigan communities, but primarily from Wayne County
- We are responsible for the boys’ transportation to and from family visits.
- We are the last stop; youth placed here have had failed multiple foster home placements.
- The goal is family reunification, however, if that is not possible, a placement with and willing and approved relative may be appropriate. Many times these boys are placed into foster care, adoption, independent living, or into a more restrictive setting in a lock-down environment.
- The typical length of stay is usually 9 months; however, we have youth that have been in our program for as long as 10 years. We are licensed for males only, from age 5 through 16 years of age.
The severity of the boys’ problems require the skills of a highly trained professional staff. The team, which includes Youth Specialists, Clinical Therapists, Recreation and Education staff, and a Medical Liaison, creates a highly structured Treatment Plan for each child to help rebuild his life. The House team has grown to over fifty full and part-time staff, whose work is supported by that of many active volunteers from both within and beyond the members of Christ Child Society.
Additional Services provided:
- Clinical Services – Clinical Director and 3 Clinicians on staff
- Psychiatric Services – Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
- Residential Services – Residential Director, 4 Full-time Supervisor’s, 1:4 Staffing ratio during the day, and 1:10 staffing ratio at night
- Education Director
- Art Therapy, and Music Therapy classes
- Volunteer Foster Grandparent program
In some cases, after intensive individual and family therapy, many children are able to return to their homes; unfortunately and increasingly, the total breakdown of family precludes a child’s return to their familial home. Parents work with a team of specialists in and outside their home to receive treatment while their child is placed in residential care, in an attempt to best meet their needs. Sometimes this means in-home services including substance abuse services, parenting classes, and family therapy. In the event that the child and the family can work at maintaining the parent-child bond and completing the treatment plan and services successfully, in-home visitation can occur. Once all requirements are met, and visitation in home is successful, the child is usually returned home. This occurs with intensive support from the treatment team at CCH and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) staff.
Other times the family unit is irreparable and the parental rights are terminated. It is often difficult to communicate with the family as they are not willing to accept the issues that brought the child into care. When this happens there is a complete breakdown in communication, and services tend to fail. At that point the child is placed for adoption. The Michigan DHHS works with Adoption agencies seeking the best alternative placement for the child in the case that the family unit cannot be repaired. In these cases, Christ Child House assists with the integration into a loving adoptive home. Our after-care treatment program strives to help build a strong and loving bond between the child and his new family.
Unfortunately in Michigan, we have youth that age out of residential and foster care treatment at an alarming rate. Some boys who have resided at Christ Child House have experienced this as well. Though we provide life skills and independent living skills to our residents, we do not see them as prepared to face the challenge of adulthood without any support. In order to help meet the needs of children who “age-out”, Christ Child House hoping to create an on-ground Independent Living facility. We want to provide these young men, who have no parental support, a solid foundation to build upon as they move into adulthood.
Education is viewed as the critical secondary complement needed to prepare our youth for successful adulthood. Christ Child House provides an Educational Director to ensure that every child’s educational needs are met. An educational plan for each child is carefully constructed to ensure appropriate school placements. The spectrum of services needed ranges from regular education, to intensive special education day treatment. The boys’ educational challenges include emotional impairment, cognitive impairment, autism, learning disabilities and developmental delays. Education is a year-round need, and a comprehensive education/remediation program is provided on campus every summer. We have a full-time Academic summer program, summer enrichment activities, Art Therapy and Music Therapy programming built right into the program milieu.
Individual & Group Therapy
The boys at Christ Child House all receive intensive therapeutic services which focus on topics such as Trauma, Anger Management, Conflict Resolution, Self-regulation, Grief and Loss, Life Skills, and Sexual Development. The Agency’s Clinical Therapists, all of whom possess a Master’s degree, conduct individual and group therapy using a variety of behavior modification methods and strategies, including play therapy, music therapy, and adventure therapy. Our Youth Specialist staff conduct skill building groups within the program based on various topics depending on the needs of our youth, current events, independent living skills, and basic life skills.
We provide Independent Living activities for all youth aged 14 and older which include, but are not limited to: budgeting and money management; employment seeking skills; communication skills; relationship building; establishing health and hygiene; household maintenance and upkeep; educational assistance; preventive health services; parenting skills and accessing community services.
Psychiatric Services & Medical Liaison
Christ Child House is fortunate to provide the on-site services of Medical Liaison and a Psychiatrist. The Agency’s Psychiatrist meets individually with all of the boys, and assesses the need for additional services and/or medication needs. The Medical Liaison oversees the medication distribution program and assists participates in the weekly medication reviews. Both the Psychiatrist and the Medical Liaison are available 24 hours for consultation needs.
College Campus Tours
Our College Tours program exposes our boys to campus life and the generic expectations for a college-bound student. The older youth participate in college tours at Michigan State University, Oakland University, and Western Michigan University. Ideally, our college tours program will help to motivate and inspire our young men to attend college, and ultimately reach their full potential.
Christ Child House takes pride in offering extensive recreational opportunities that range from on-site activities such as softball, biking, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and kickball, to organized off-site activities through our Cultural & Educational Enrichment outings program. The boys enjoy special off-site activities including trips to the Ann Arbor Hands-on-Museum, Cranbrook Museum and Planetarium, Detroit Science Center, and the Morley Chocolate Factory. We are card-carrying members of Greenfield Village, the Detroit Zoo, and the Charles H. Wright African American Museum. Additionally, thanks to many supporters and donors, our boys have had the opportunity to attend Detroit Lions, Pistons and Tigers games!
Every summer for over 20 years, our boys have enjoyed a fun-filled summer camp experience. The annual camping trip consists of four days and three nights at a campsite located outside of the Metro-Detroit area. Here the boys are given the opportunity to swim and fish, and to learn new skills, like bike-riding, team-building, and cooking by the fireside! These experiences create a sense of community and help the boys learn how to overcome obstacles. Our boys LOVE this trip and look forward to it every year! Most of the boys have never experienced camping, and many have never had a vacation or even traveled outside of the Detroit area. Summer Camp is the most loved program at the House. It is truly an experience that our disadvantaged children remember, learn from, and cherish. This programming possible with the assistance of our most-gracious donors.
Family Services and Aftercare Planning
Upon admission, Christ Child House coordinates with the primary caseworker/agency responsible for placement, the family and the child to identify members of the child’s team for ongoing participation in case planning Family Team Meetings facilitated in conjuncture with DHHS. Regularly scheduled FTM’s are held throughout the youth’s placement for successful case planning.
We focus upon a youth guided family driven approach incorporating the significance of the birth family, when feasible. Our Clinician’s focus upon the value of spending time frequently each week in the home and community with family, importance of attachment and strengthening family relationships, impact of separation, grief and loss issues for youth in care, and youth’s need for permanency.
Families (including incarcerated parents) and placement caregiver(s) shall be included as extensively as possible from the beginning of the admission process through discharge, transition and aftercare. Families and caregiver(s) shall be supported and involved in all aspects of the youth’s/family’s treatment and transitional/discharge planning. Family and caregiver(s) involvement shall remain the center of the youth’s programming. Aftercare services are provided by our Clinical team to assist in reestablishing family equilibrium.
Christ Child House has the capacity to serve boys through their 17th year. This has necessitated adding an innovative life skills curriculum for the boys who may rernain in treatment at the House until they move to Supervised Independent Living. This specialized curriculum, known as the “Success League” provides “survival skills” for our older boys on everyday issues such as time management, anger management, cooking, hygiene, sexuality, interview skills, job hunting, and college preparation.
College Campus Tours
Our college tours program exposes our boys to campus life and the generic expectations for a college-bound student. The older youth experience college tours at Michigan State University, Oakland University and Western Michigan University. Ideally, our college tours program will help to motivate and inspire our young men to attend college and ultimately reach their full potential.
Christ Child House offers extensive recreational opportunities that range from on-site activities such as softball, biking, basketball and kickball, to organized off-site activities through our Cultural & Educational Outings (CEO) program. The boys enjoy special outings including trips to the Hands-on-Museum, Cranbrook Planetarium, Detroit Science Center and the Morley Chocolate Factory. We are frequent visitors to Greenfield Village, the Detroit Zoo, and the Charles H. Wright African American Museum. Additionally, thanks to many supporters in the community, our boys have attended Detroit Lions, Pistons and Tigers games.
Each summer our boys enjoy a fun-filled summer camp experience. The annual trip consists of four days and three nights at a campsite a few hours from the House. Here the boys are given the opportunity to swim and fish, and to learn new skills, like pitching a tent, building a fire and cooking food. These experiences create a sense of community and teamwork, and help them learn how to overcome obstacles. The boys love this trip since most of them have never gone camping, and many have never had a vacation or left the Detroit area. Summer camp is the most loved program at the House. It is truly an experience that these disadvantaged children remember, learn from, and cherish.