We have four Short-Term Assessment & Respite (STAR) homes in West Hartford, Southington, Wolcott, and Harwinton. Three of our shelters are for girls and the shelter in Wolcott is for boys. Our STAR homes have a licensed bed capacity of six (nine in West Hartford) girls or boys ages 11-20. Teenagers in our shelters receive assessment and clinical services in a small, structured home-like setting.
We offer high-quality care for every resident by providing for every need that a child has when she/he enters our program. Basic needs include shelter, food, clothing, medical and dental care, counseling and family reconciliation support, primary education, life skills training, drug and sex education, and recreational and social activities.
The target length of stay for our residents is 30-90 days. A primary responsibility of a STAR home is to prepare young people for their next placement, whether it is reunification with their family, placement with a foster family, placement in a group home, or transition to other Bridge residential programs.
We teach young residents about the communities they live in and the services offered there. They are taught basic community life skills in order to:
Additionally, individual and group health education is provided. All residents attend health-related classes taught by the staff nurse on subjects such as reproductive health, use of medication, etc.
Our staff members encourage and help with resident participation in extracurricular school activities. Whenever possible, we assist with financial payments associated with these activities, such as the purchase of a prom dress or sporting equipment.
Our STAR homes are accessible 24/7 to Connecticut teenagers. Most residents come from Hartford, West Hartford, New Britain, Manchester, Southington, and Meriden and may attend school in their hometown or in the shelter community. Referrals can come from ANYONE who knows a kid in crisis including:
In order to reside in the shelter, a resident must have permission from a legal guardian and must follow house rules.
Our staff is supervised by Mike Rulnick, MPA, Director of Residential Services, our shelters are staffed 24 hours a day; at least two staff are on duty at all times. Each home has a Program Director, a Clinical Coordinator, a part-time nurse, and limited psychiatric hours. Our staff members are trained in applying the Relational Model and are certified to administer medications and CPR. All staff must obtain certification in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI), a 30-hour course focused on basic counseling skills and verbal de-escalation.
More about our individual STAR homes:
The program director at the West Hartford STAR Home, Freymann House, is Maiya Pierre. Maiya is a master's level social worker who has worked with both girls and boys at DCF and as a program director at a group home.
We opened our West Hartford shelter in 1978 under the name Junction 1019 and then the Bridge Youth Shelter. The home was renamed Freymann House in October 2013 in honor of the woman most responsible for its beginning, Ruth Freymann.
In 1971, Ruth volunteered at the Bridge, then a fledgling grassroots organization. She later became a board member, and eventually the second executive director of the Bridge from 1975-1980. Ruth secured a major federal grant for the Bridge and struggled through controversy to open a temporary shelter for teen runaways in 1978.
Freymann House is one of our flagship programs and is consistently full. Though STAR homes typically have 6 beds, this home has 3 additional beds for homeless and runaway youth who are not involved in the state system of care. Maiya Pierre is the program director and master's level social worker who heads up the shelter.
Maiya Pierre, MSW
Freymann House, Program Director
The program director at Southington STAR Home, Winifred House, is Charlene Moorer. Charlene has a Master’s degree in mental health counseling from Pace University and is a licensed professional and nationally certified counselor. She has many years of experience working with both male and female youth and their families in various settings.
Winifred House is named for Winifred Rohrbaugh, a clinician who worked at the Bridge for many years. Winnie worked magic with young people and families by modeling the importance of focusing on "good" qualities rather than on flaws. She shared her gifts of wisdom, unconditional love, honesty, compassion, humor, and a desire for social justice. The world is a better place because of Winnie. We were lucky to have called her our friend.
Contact information:Charlene MoorerWinifred House, Program Director
The program director at the Wolcott STAR Home, Hastings House is Tracy Denton, LCSW. Tracy, is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) with a concentration in case work and group work. Tracy has worked for the past ten years in adolescent residential programs.
Hastings House is named for George Hastings, one of the Bridge founders, longtime Bridge board member, and friend. George, a respected attorney, advocated for youth and families in many arenas, including the courtroom. He is courageous, caring, and insightful; he shares his wise counsel without hesitation; he gives his time, opens his heart, and shares his humor with all of us. The Bridge is built on George's commitment to social justice.
Contact information:Tracy Denton, LCSWHastings House, Program Director
The program director for Harwinton House is Felicia Hedgemond. Felicia holds a Master’s in mental health counseling from The College of New Rochelle. She has many years of experience working with both male and female adolescents and adults in various settings.
We opened this Bridge shelter in 2008 after determining that Harwinton and Torrington had an under-served, homeless and runaway youth population. The shelter has been successful in transitioning numerous children into more stable dwellings and has been embraced by the Harwinton community.
Contact information:Mike Rulnick