A wide range of residential living arrangements including group homes, structured and semi-independent group residences, independent living units, and apartments are utilized to meet the needs of the client population. Placement within a particular living arrangement is based on the age, level of maturity and stability, structure and independence requirements for each resident. As a resident matures he is moved through the various settings in a natural progression of less structure and increased individual responsibility.
Whitmarsh House endeavors to create a family-like atmosphere for residents by utilizing several facilities and limiting the number of individuals in residence within each facility. In this way, residents are able to enjoy more individualized attention and are afforded maximum supervision at all times.
A great deal of care is given to the development of healthy relationships within the community and neighborhood to preserve privacy for residents and respect for community values. Whitmarsh facilities operate within the respective neighborhoods, undistinguished from other family residences.
All Whitmarsh residents are expected to conduct themselves in a socially appropriate manner, lead productive lives, and be actively engaged in activities designed to better their lives. All residents must be regularly involved in school, work, training, therapeutic counseling and recreational activities as designated by individual treatment plans. Beyond that, residents are expected to abide by the rules specific to each residential facility.
Appropriate health care services are provided. Residents receive routine physical, hearing, dental, and vision screening upon entrance into the program and subsequent annual screenings thereafter. Residents are counseled on issues of nutrition, health, safety, hygiene, and substance abuse.
When visiting health care facilities residents are always accompanied by a Whitmarsh Case Manager to provide information, assure treatment and follow-up care. The presence of the staff person provides psychological support for those who may experience fear and discomfort regarding medical treatment. The nurse is also responsible for the documentation of important medical information in resident files and arranging for prescriptive and follow-up care.
A Whitmarsh nurse oversees all prescription and over-the-counter medicatiom. As medication is dispensed to residents it is recorded in a separate medical log. Medications are monitored by Gateway Healthcare.
An emergency health care issue requires a priority response by the on-call supervisor to arrange immediate professional attention and transportation to a treatment center. The on-call supervisor remains in constant contact with all Whitmarsh facilities to assess and mobilize an emergency response. The Program Administrator, DCYF worker, Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS) and family are immediately notified of emergency situations.
The Whitmarsh clinical staff provides individual, family, and group counseling. All residents participate in counseling services, not only to identify and resolve problem areas but also to vent emotions that may arise from placement. It can be inferred that issues of anger, guilt, trauma, loss, loneliness and confusion over circumstances that have resulted in placement generally affect the well-being of most of the individuals in care.
An individual may enter the Whitmarsh House already established in a therapeutic counseling relationship and is advised to continue regular contact with that provider. A resident may receive specialized counseling services within the program or with other providers such as The Providence Center and other specialized therapists in the community.
Whitmarsh clinical staff provide individual, family, and group counseling with a focus on issues that generally impact education, relationships, family dysfunction, self-control and self-esteem. With ongoing therapeutic intervention, the resident is encouraged to develop strategies and adaptations to successfully cope with identified problem areas.
In general, Whitmarsh residents are enrolled in a variety of public and private educational programs in the community. All educational placements are routinely monitored by the educational coordinator and program staff to ensure that residents are in attendance, meeting responsibilities for academic performance, and compliant with school rules and policies. Other specialized placements are utilized for students who have specific learning and behavioral issues, substance abuse, truancy, and other issues that preclude placement within a community educational setting. Whitmarsh House has developed an alternative educational setting, The Vision School, for residents who may need close supervision or an adjustment period for a time.
The Vision School has been developed as a collaboration between The Whitmarsh Program and the Providence School Department to provide educational services for students until an appropriate transition to a public school can be achieved. Placement within Project Vision of the Vision School may be appropriate after a referral has been submitted to the Providence Special Education Clinical team or the Student Affairs Administrator when circumstances suggest that closer supervision may be needed. Project Vision is intended to serve students who:
- need close supervision
- have adjustment issues
- engage in risky behaviors
- are in a temporary residential placement
- are suspended or excluded
- are awaiting a specialized educational placement
- are unable to maintain appropriate social and emotional control
- are new to the Providence School System
The Whitmarsh Program endeavors to instill in residents an ethic that values work and meets responsibilities. Eventually, most residents are destined to seek employment to maintain independence. For many, the process is begun at an early age with part-time employment to ease the transition into full-time employment.
While residents are still in school they are encouraged to seek part-time after school employment. Youth training programs are suggested for all residents to develop pre-employment skills. Whitmarsh program staff are available to accompany residents through the initial stages of the application and interview process, to provide psychological support, transportation, and other assistance while locating employment. Residents are also helped to find work by contacting Network Rhode Island and the Office of Rehabilitation Services.
All residents who have entered into employment are required to bank a portion of earnings in anticipation of the future. Thus, as independence is realized residents are prepared with adequate funds for an apartment, car, insurance, or school. Residents are also advised in managing money and budgeting to meet needs.
Network Rhode Island
Office of Rehabilitation Services
Recreational activities serve several important functions for residents: a healthy release of energy, an outlet to rechannel anger and aggression, a means to develop natural skills and abilities that enhance confidence and self-esteem.
Residents are encouraged to participate in community, school, extracurricular sports and social activities to widen social contacts, foster individual and group interactions, and develop healthy competitive and team spirit.
For younger residents, structured recreational activities are offered. Older residents are largely responsible for developing social activities with only an occasional supervised group activity. Mature residents generally plan leisure activities in areas of individual interest.
Residents routinely utilize local gyms, recreational centers, state and city parks and beaches, local festivals, events, celebrations, and summer camps. In addition, all residents’ birthdays and major holidays are celebrated.
Membership in clubs, religious, social or youth groups, such as Boy Scouts are strongly encouraged. Residents may also participate in approved youth mentoring activities.
Contact with family and friends is vitally important for youth in placement. Residents are able to maintain former contacts when those contacts are appropriate and have been approved for visitation by the Department for Children, Youth and Families. Initially, all visitation contacts must be screened. This involves a thorough background check on individuals by the DCYF worker prior to approval. With approval, visitation may occur for a specific frequency and duration. In some cases supervised visitation, limited visitation or alternative visitation may be necessary to ensure the safety and stability of residents.