PALADIN HOUSE OPENS DOORS… IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE.
The Child Guidance Clinic of Greater Waterbury opened the doors of a new group home, named ‘Paladin House’, in January, providing 24-hour care to children with trauma histories. A ‘Paladin’ is a champion, guardian or hero - a fitting name since so many caring people came together to be ‘champions’ for a group of boys who deserve a chance at a life in the community, free of trauma and victimization.
Paladin House offers new hope to five young boys, ages 9-13, who have not lived the carefree joys of a childhood marked by riding bikes, playing sports and laughing with friends, but have struggled with the effects of trauma. The project is the result of extensive local and statewide planning as a part of an initiative by the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) to provide support so that they can return to the community where they belong.
“When we were designing Paladin House, our focus was on doing ‘right’ by these boys. Ultimately, we felt a moral and ethical obligation to utilize our expertise to support this initiative and to help give kids a chance at a healthy life in the community”, said Gary M. Steck, Executive Director of the Child Guidance Clinic of Greater Waterbury.
Based on an innovative model, Paladin House utilizes state-of-the-art therapeutic approaches to help these boys overcome their psychological struggles and heal the wounds of trauma. Long-term, intense levels of therapeutic treatment will be provided 24/7 in a home-like environment where the children can learn “normal.” They will live and function like a family, learn how family members interrelate and about their own role as a responsible family and community member.
Child Guidance has significant experience and expertise on issues related to child trauma and is eminently qualified to provide this service. Each year the Clinic treats hundreds of youngsters who have unfortunately experienced trauma. Paladin House will be staffed by 20 trained employees. A minimum of two staff members will be present and awake at Paladin House at all times. Household activities will be scheduled and monitored to ensure continuous supervision of the boys.
“Paladin House will be a good neighbor”, said Steck. “We will take good care of the property, shovel our sidewalks and be responsive to the needs and concerns of others living in our area. Our children have done nothing wrong. They are simply young boys who suffer from the effects of trauma and need specialized treatment. Paladin House will open the doors to a normal life for these boys. They deserve to be safe, healthy and happy. It is our obligation as a responsible, caring community to provide the opportunity.”
Many local residents pledged resources and support for Paladin House and its residents. Most of the furnishing and personal items for the Paladin House boys were purchased with over $15,000 in donations earmarked to support the initial residents of the program. “Growing up in Waterbury, it was always my experience that those in need are taken care of. I am humbled by the generosity we’ve experienced and know the boys will benefit because of the support of the greater Waterbury community”, Steck remarked.