Michelle, Trajon's mom, bravely shares the story of the emotional roller coaster that they voyaged with help from a dedicated team of DABSJ social workers who never gave up on Trajon.Read the story
Residential treatment provides a safe and loving place for children who have experienced child abuse or neglect. Kids with troubled pasts need structure and our Residential treatment program offer kids consistency, caring adults they can trust and individuals who can help them heal.
Kids First Emergency Shelter
Kids’ needs come first. Since 1998, we have provided emergency shelter services for Kent County boys and girls. When children arrive at KidsFirst they receive home-cooked meals, warm baths, clean clothing and even a teddy bear. Counselors are always ready to listen and give reassurance. Children from newborns to 17, stay for a short time in two comfortable homes, called KidsFirst. During their stay, kids enjoy St. John’s 25-acre campus—including cookouts, bike rides, basketball, and crafts.
This small, open residential program specializes in the treatment of children and teens. Youth live in a healthy family-like atmosphere in homes that prepare them for pre-adoptive homes, foster homes or to return to rehabilitated families.
We value the importance of providing kids with a loving, home-like setting to provide the treatment they need in the best possible environment.
D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s offers residential treatment in an open program setting. We treat young people with emotional, behavioral and psychiatric problems, building on kids’ strengths and guiding them toward higher levels of functioning. The goal of treatment is to enable children to maintain stable relationships in a family setting.
DABSJ's Residential Program is located on a beautiful 25-acre campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Children live in eight-bedroom residential homes. Each home has a comfortable living area with floor-to-ceiling windows, an open kitchen, dining area, and a large recreation room. Outside, kids use our sidewalks for biking and skating and playing on our basketball court and large ball field.
Residential Care Stories
Our residential staff is committed to providing the best possible academic services for children and youth in our care. We strive to keep students in their school of origin when possible and if it is in the best interest of the student. We partner with Lighthouse Academy, a non-profit charter school, to provide best-practice educational instruction and specialized services to students. Based on an educational assessment of individual needs, students attend special programs offered by Kent Intermediate School District, a local public school and/or one of the following schools offered by Lighthouse Academy: an on-site school, Lighthouse North, or Hope Charter Academy. Students utilize on-line instruction for credit recovery and can adjust their schedule to allow for part-time jobs. The counseling team as sits with homework and encourages students to participate in activities. During the summer, every student attends a 10 week summer program on campus.
Daily activities create strong bonds among children and their counselors. Activities like playing an instrument, planting a vegetable garden, celebrating the holidays or keeping a scrapbook are important to each household. Day excursions to concerts, sporting events and cultural festivals, and occasional overnight trips to campgrounds or college campuses are eye-opening “firsts” for most children and youth that help change their perceptions. Many activities are planned and led by dedicated Activity and Adventure Specialists who focus on the performing arts, creative arts and adventure education. Their expertise ensures that challenging new experiences, such as hiking, theater, camping,and music are accessible, safe, and fun for all students.
We encourage kids to pursue their own interests. Many take music, karate or gymnastics lessons in the community. Others join scout troops or sports leagues. Each year, many of our children and youth go to summer camp, take drivers training, and get a part-time job. Annual YMCA memberships allow kids to be active and stay fit throughout the year.
Therapists complete comprehensive assessments on every child and youth and then work closely to meet the needs identified, which may include working with an occupational therapist, speech pathologist, dietician, and/or nutritionist.