Located in a quiet, tree-lined residential neighborhood in Arlington, Mass., the Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus provides a comfortable treatment environment for girls ages 12-18 with serious emotional and behavioral challenges complicated by difficult-to-treat compounding issues.
- Support and skills for girls with cognitive limitations
Our treatment track for girls with intellectual disabilities starts with comprehensive intake assessments that include in-depth interviews with family members and others who can help provide pertinent information about the girls’ behavioral issues. Understanding the factors that drive each girl’s unique behaviors helps our clinical staff and licensed clinical consultant identify the most appropriate evidence-based interventions and devise a treatment plan. Repetition, breaking down interventions into small steps at a time, role playing, games and modeling behavior help girls with intellectual disabilities adopt new, more positive behaviors. Our clinical staff evaluate and modify treatment plans every two weeks.
- Overcoming eating disorders
Girls with anorexia, bulimia or binge eating behavior receive unique treatment and their medical care is supervised by an eating disorders specialist from Children’s Hospital in Boston. After an initial assessment that includes a medical evaluation and determines each girl’s ideal weight, our staff design a treatment plan to address the specific issues that contribute to each girl’s troubled relationship with food. Clinicians help girls learn to regulate their emotions safely, without resorting to eating disorders or other high-risk behaviors. Meal times are set on a strict schedule, and our staff put meals together for the girls to help ensure every meal meets the requirements set forth in each girl’s treatment plan. Families take an active role in their child’s treatment, participating in meal coaching, family therapy and activities. Once girls attain their ideal weight and maintain it for the amount of time specified in their treatment plan, they begin taking part in more regular campus activities and making their own meal choices.
- Help and hope for girls who have been victims of commercial sexual exploitation
Looking at each girl’s unique situation – her personal life, family environment, peer group, school situation and community – our staff assess the factors that have contributed to a girl’s sexual exploitation. Following the assessment, our clinical staff identify appropriate evidence-based interventions tailored to the girl’s unique situation and devise a treatment plan. They evaluate and update treatment plans every two weeks. Each girl participates in the My Life My Choice group administered by female volunteers who are survivors of sexual exploitation. The group serves as another outlet for girls to discuss their personal experiences and current issues, and find hope and healing among women who have successfully overcome victimization. Girls also are matched with a survivor mentor. This program has been made possible at our Germaine Lawrence Campus through philanthropic partners like the Cummings Foundation.
Treating firesetting behavior in girls
We begin helping girls with emotional and behavioral issues compounded by firesetting behavior by identifying the factors that lead them to set fire. Once our staff understand what drives the behavior, our clinical team designs corresponding treatment interventions. Treatment also includes fire safety education, teaching girls and their families fire safety planning and helping girls reintegrate into the community.
- Recover from substance abuse
Girls referred to our campus for substance abuse issues are given the Personal Experience Inventory (PEI) assessment to determine the onset, nature and degree of alcohol and substance abuse, and to help identify each girl’s unique risk factors that may precipitate or prolong substance abuse. Youth Villages uses evidence-based approaches to help youth engage in positive activities and behaviors that encourage recovery, effectively replacing those environmental factors that have previously supported alcohol and drug use. Therapy also may include teaching communication and problem-solving skills as well as group and family therapy.