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Saratoga Program

History

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Saratoga Group Home evolved as an extension of the Homestead Life Skills Group Home in 1985. Saratoga was set up as a specialized treatment group home for children aged 13 to 18 years. Since the participants had experienced a variety of previous foster, adoptive, and institutional placements, maintaining continuity seemed the best approach in helping them to reintegrate successfully, into the community. The focus was basic life skills to enable them towards independent living. This was best achieved in a separate setting (Saratoga Group Home) but still allowing participants to maintain regular interaction with the people and environments of other Betamarsh programs that they may have been connected with. As time went on the participants became younger (11 to 16 years of age) who required a more treatment-focused program due to mental health issues, and the life skills became more secondary. Saratoga provides placements for up to 18 years as long as the youth continues to make progress.

Statement of Philosophy

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A significant number of adolescent boys must make the transition from childhood to adulthood without the benefit of family support and guidance. Without this essential experience, these boys may make poor choices structuring daily living, or fail at forming trusting responsible relationships. Communal living in an emotionally supportive, supervised environment that provides experiences in helping to promote social adaptation and emotional growth. Saratoga Group Home encourages participants to set realistic goals, and to function responsibly, both in the home and in the community. Progress made within the environment of Saratoga Group Home will enable participants to further develop, and maintain responsible and effective relationships within the community. Responsible involvement in the community is required of participants through their commitment to a vocational day program of school, work or volunteer community service. In addition, the participants are introduced to other existing community programs, which may be useful to them for leisure activities, or social support or future employments.

Role and Mandate

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To provide a residential setting for boys in need of an alternative living situation, who are able to benefit from a program where skills are learned, and applied to living situations, to develop the competence and confidence to successfully take on the day-today challenges.

Saratoga Progam Objectives

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  • To provide a staffed home setting for participants in need of an alternative living situation.
  • To provide a safe and supportive environment.
  • To provide opportunities for interaction with peers, and with adults in a supervised communal environment.
  • To offer assistance and support, not only at times of crisis, but also to enable the individual to define his long-term personal and social goals, and begin working toward them.
  • To provide a home-base from which a participant may reach out into the community.
  • To help develop the social skills, and the self-confidence needed to make community involvement safe, and rewarding.
  • To encourage and facilitate participation in community activities.
  • To provide a therapeutic environment and treatment to address emotional, behavioural and mental issues.

Educational Program Goals

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  • To provide programming in the County of Huron. A clinical psychologist provides educational testing and programming and assistance with learning disabilities and perceptual problems.
  • To structure the program so that the skills being taught are applied to the living situation, in order to gain competence, confidence, and good judgment.
  • To enrich the program with life experiences outside of Saratoga Group Home, including recreational, vocational and volunteer activities in wilderness, country, town and city environments
  • To provide the opportunity to gain the skills, experience, and confidence necessary for successful integration into the community.

There is a strong educational component to the program at Saratoga Group Home, intended to provide a youth with the basic skills necessary to eventually live on his own in the future or prepare him for the Homestead Life Skills Group Home Program.

A key element in learning these skills is experience, so that when a participant leaves Saratoga Group Home, he will already be accustomed to being responsible for himself.

Admission Policy

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Saratoga Group Home agrees to provide a service designed to assist adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17 provided the youth is able to still benefit from the Saratoga Group Home experience. Generally a participant under the age of 16, will need to be able to handle a community school placement but an on-site school program is available for individuals who are not able to handle full-time community school environments.

The nature of our setting, and our program forces us to restrict admission in the following circumstances;
  • Saratoga Group Home includes log and wood frame buildings in a woodland setting, we are unable to accept children with a history of fire setting.

Treatment Approach

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The Saratoga Group Home program is designed to help each participant discover his own strengths, and build on them. Saratoga Group Home provides support, structure and positive modeling, with an opportunity to learn and practice new skills. Participants do formal goal setting with the staff. They receive feedback from staff, and peers on a regular basis, and participate in group, and individual discussions, and activities. Participants learn basic life skills by doing the day-to-day chores around the home, and by approaching new challenges involved in a group living environment. Responsibility, consideration, respect and cooperation are stressed. Weekly group meetings are life skill oriented. Family meetings occur with the participantís Social Worker to ensure positive family contacts, and also to prepare the family and participant if the participant is considering returning home. Art Therapy, Play Therapy, Group Workshops and Counseling are also available for participants who need this as part of their treatment program. If a participant is in need of an alternate therapeutic approach, then appropriate consultation will be arranged.

Helena Krieger

Program Manager

Cell: 519-524-8012 ext:204

Fax: 519-524-9879

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