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Home Based Living Programs

Some children just need a chance to regroup and recenter. Often, a dramatic change of scene, a prosocial peer group, focused educational programming, and sympathetic counseling support over time in an intimate setting are all that are needed to get a kid back on track. Some "Mom and Pop" programs have consistently produced miracles.

Home-based programs are small, generally with no more than six or eight students. Sometimes the kids live in the same residence with the sponsors, who may have their own children; sometimes they live in an adjacent structure with rotating sleep-in staff in addition to the owners.

These programs employ many different educational formats. Some have students attending the local public school where they can play on teams and join in community activities. Others will rely on distance learning over the internet or on packet lessons. Still others will homeschool the kids with individually tailored, state-approved curriculum materials. Parents should plan to have their children at the program for at least a full school year.

Clinical services are modest, if they exist at all. Many homes are located in remote communities and use an experiential approach in addition to academics to help the students renew self-esteem and discover new competencies. A few have a narrow focus such as music, hands-on work, or recovery from substance abuse.

All home-based programs are almost totally dependent on the skill, energy and empathy of the family that runs them. Great care, therefore, must be taken when choosing such a program for a child. Experience, perspective and objectivity is paramount in the process of finding the best "fit".

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