Eleanor House is a community-based therapeutic group home. It serves boys ages 13 to 18 who require intense clinical services in a small, structured home-like setting. Staffing, clinical services, therapeutic support, and guidance are offered 24/7. Two to three staff members are on duty at all times. The majority of the boys are residents of Hartford and attend schools in the Hartford school system. Eleanor House is named for Eleanor Horn, a Bridge Board member and volunteer for more than 20 years. She has spent her life advocating on behalf of young people, her passion. Eleanor is patient and caring and kids feel valued when with her. She offers her insight, knowledge of the great outdoors, and her kindness to all who know her. She is an excellent role model for young people.
The Group Home Model
Trauma-informed and relational in its approach, the group home model emphasizes the healing power of relationships. Whether brief or extended, authentic and respectful human connections can be transformative.
A trauma framework provides a lens in which each resident is understood in the context of his unique background. Values, personality, and behaviors have developed through the impact of individual histories (including both positive and traumatic events), as well as cultural backgrounds. Unhealthy behaviors are viewed as having developed in order to cope with traumatic stress. These adaptations to the environment were survival strategies that at one time successfully protected the child. In the present, however, these same strategies prevent the child from reaching his full potential.
The overarching goal of the program is for the residents and staff members to engage in a collaborative process to increase each resident's own understanding of who he is as well as who he is in relation to others. The development of alliances occurs when staff members model the building of "RICH" relationships that convey Respect, Information, Connection, and Hope.* Alliances contradict resident's assumptions that all relationships are dangerous. When alliances are consistent and long-lasting, the resident can use them as a basis for healing.
Residents are supported by committed staff members to actively participate in their treatment, their schools, their communities, and the group home. Collaboration between the residents and their caretakers provides an avenue for empowerment as strengths are revealed and enhanced. Over time, the creation of caring relationships can transform unhealthy patterns of relating into healthy ones.
A Program Director, as well as residential supervisors, youth workers, a part-time child psychiatrist, and a part-time nurse.