St. Ann's Home & School has been notified by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on June 10, 2011 that our summer school program has officially been approved under M.G.L. c.71B. The summer program has been successfully operating as an "un-approved" program for many years, as continuity and mitigating regression is a critical aspect of special education.  Now, as a fully approved program, many more school districts and others are able to send thier students here for thier specialized summer education.  

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Pre-Independent Living.... learning the life-skills necessary to maximize one's potential and to live as independent as possible....

 

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Building upon the success our Pre-Independent Living (PIL) Group Home for males ages 16-22 which opened last year, St. Ann's has started construction on a new PIL Group Home for females ages 16-22 who have "aged-out" of the residential and foster care systems but are not ready for full independent living. 

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Summer is for fun, or at least it should be. It hasn't always been that way for many of the children and adolescents here at St. Ann's. Many have never been away... never had a summer vacation... never been to the beach... never seen the ocean. Hard to believe, isn't it?

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One of the things that have always impressed me since I started here four years ago is the vision of the future shown by St. Ann’s leadership. What I mean by this is the ability, willingness, and foresight to look ahead and see what can be done to build and improve our programs and services in order to be better able to help children and adolescents, both now and in the future.

As I write, work is nearly complete on our latest project, a pre-independent living group home located on property abutting our current residence and school. When it opens it will serve residents age 16-22 with mental health and developmental disabilities who need a program that is structured to assist them with the transition into adulthood. We will be collaborating with CLASS, Inc., a local agency which will provide employment training and placement for the residents.

The main goal of placement in the Group Home Program will be to provide a structured living situation which facilitates access to the community for social, educational and employment purposes. Designed to allow for the transition to adulthood and the community, the program recognizes that this particular population will need a substantial amount of structure and support through the process. Provided will be supports such as participation in an age-appropriate milieu, group meetings, individual therapy, family therapy, employment training and placement and educational/vocational services.

The primary outcome sought for the Group Home residents will be increased independent living skills, mastery over mental health problems, improved self-confidence and the acquisition of new personal and social skills.

This is great news for a vulnerable population, as finding an appropriate living situation or placement for this age group can be difficult. We have experienced this ourselves when residents “age-out” of our programs and services. Other entities, with whom we collaborate, such as Lawrence Family Networks/Dept. of Children and Families (DCF), Northeast Family Networks, and DMH, also confirm the need for this type of program in the community.

Looking ahead, I am sure the program will evolve and improve as we identify new partners in the community who share our mission and interest in helping people lead productive lives, as independent as their abilities allow. Stay tuned.

John J. Rice

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Welcome to the new St. Ann’s Home & School Blog. We have been working to up-date and improve our web site to make it easier to use and easier to find for school systems, parents, families, caregivers and guardians looking for information on residential, day school, and other programs for a child or adolescent with and emotional, behavioral, or mental health disability. It’s a “work in progress”, so please stay tuned.While I am new to “blogging”, I am not new to the areas of special education and developmental disabilities. You see, besides working here at St. Ann’s, I am also the father of a seventeen year old son with Aspergers Disorder, often described as “high-functioning Autism”, who attends a residential school here in Massachusetts. I am all too familiar with the stressors, emotions, and the trials and tribulations of raising a child with special needs. I can empathize with what parents, guardians, and their child, have to go through.As the Director of Development here at St. Ann’s, my job is to direct a...

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