Making the Transition to Community Living
The goal of the Community Based Group Home Program is to provide a facility for youth to reside within a community environment. As such, the community based group home setting emphasizes education, appropriate social behavior, avoidance of negative peer groups in the community, and the development of skills needed to become productive members of society. The homes are located within the communities and rely on local resources for education, employment, socialization, and community living. The program maintains structure using the formal treatment plans which include individual goals and objectives.
Youth are selected for community based living based upon their successful adjustment to George Junior Republic’s main campus in the areas of peer relationships, campus home adjustment, and education. Any number of involved persons such as George Junior Republic staff, probation officers, or caseworkers can make recommendations for group home placement. Residents complete a screening process and court approval is required prior to transfer into the homes. Youth who reside in the community based group homes benefit from public school integration and supervised community living. Our Community Based Group Home Program is often referred to as George Junior Republic’s finishing process, where the final steps are taken to mold a youth into a responsible adult who can live and flourish within the guidelines of society.
- Delinquent and dependent males, 10 to 18 years of age, who fall into one of the categories:
- Youth who are being prepared to return to their families, home, school, and community. These youth are gradually given increased privileges and responsibilities such as part-time jobs, participation in activities and increased supervised home visits. As their discharge draws near, our staff takes measures to insure a smooth transition back into their home communities.
- Youth being prepared for life on their own with little or no family support. The emphasis with this group is on independent living skills, preparation for college or trade school, entrance into the job market, or enlistment in the service. These youth often have had a number of foster home placements that did not work out.
- Youth who are able to function within an open residential setting
- Youth who are able to maintain their own safety while under the supervision of staff and the community
- Youth who are able to interact appropriately with peers and function with staff supervision and guidance
- Youth who need to develop skills to successfully readjust to a community environment
Residents complete a screening process, and court approval is required prior to transfer into the community based group homes. Youth who reside in these homes benefit from public school integration and supervised community living.
Role of Counselor/Parents
The community based group homes are staffed with a live-in married couple who serve as counselor/parents and implement a behavioral educational model. The counselor/parents provide daily supervision, life space counseling, and monitor each youth’s adjustment and interactions within the home and community. In addition, a campus director oversees the daily operation of the home and the individual needs of each youth.
Focusing on Increased Responsibility
As this is considered the final process within George Junior Republic‘s continuum, youth who are transferred to the community based group homes have already demonstrated appropriate adjustment in the academic and vocational settings within a more structured setting and have displayed immense progress in improving social skills, behaviors, and attitudes.
The focus of the community based group homes is to provide continued support in a less structured setting by increasing privileges and responsibilities in the areas of employment, school, sports, and secondary or post secondary education. The counselor/parents provide daily life space counseling for youth to assist in this transitional period.
Academic and Vocational Services
The following school districts provide accredited educational and vocational services to the youth residing in our community based group homes:
- New Wilmington Community-Based Group Home is located in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania (Lawrence County)
- Youth residing at New Wilmington attend Wilmington Area School District.
- Omega Community-Based Group Home is located in Guys Mills, Pennsylvania (Crawford County)
- Youth residing at Omega attend Penn Crest School District.
Each community based group home has the ability to utilize local recreational resources. These resources may vary but can include intramural sports, interscholastic sports, libraries, community activities, school or community clubs, and the use of community parks and recreational facilities.
Home Passes and Visitation Promote Family Reunification
Visits by immediate family members are available at the identified group home every weekend to promote family reunification and may include family therapy sessions. George Junior Republic encourages visits on both Saturday and Sunday and assists each family in making visitation arrangements.
During his treatment, a youth may earn up to six scheduled home passes per year. These passes occur in February, April/May, June, August, November, and December. Each youth must show the appropriate progress in his treatment in order for a home pass to be recommended. Every youth is issued a duffle bag to transport his belongings safely to and from home.
Upon return, each youth must submit to a drug screen. Home passes allow each youth the opportunity to show his progress in the home and community settings and prepare for reunification.
Referrals and Discharge
Upon completion of the Community-Based Group Home Program, staff will recommend, in conjunction with the probation officer or caseworker, that the youth either return to his family or prepare for independent living. George Junior Republic assists youth in seeking employment, entry into a military branch, or entry into college or a technical school in order to ensure a smooth transition toward independence.