Lawrence Hall Youth Services, Chicago, IL

Clinically Appropriate Length of Stay: Youth and Staff Driven Process for Residential Program Re-Design

Abstract: Lawrence Hall Youth Services’ (LHYS) 48-bed residential and 16-bed family community home (Group Home) treatment programs serve adolescent boys, most of whomare wards of the state of Illinois. Its programs are located in Chicago, Illinois, a major urban center. Historically, lengths of stay in these aggregate care programs have averaged 14-16 months. In an attempt to reduce average lengths of stay and move clients through the treatment programs in a clinically appropriate manner, LHYS has implemented a youth- and staff driven process to re-design the core structure of the program. Staff and youth were involved in each stage of the process, which promoted buy-in and valuable perspectives. The treatment program was re-designed to reflect clearly defined “phases of treatment”and accompanying treatment objectives. Clients were given more ownership over the team staffing and treatment planning process. Celebratory community rituals, based upon a balanced and restorative justice framework, were integrated into each phase of treatment, which enhanced meaning and increased motivation for treatment. Family engagement was also seen as a critical variable in supporting more clinically appropriate lengths of stay.

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Private Organization Accreditation

Southeastern Regional Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services is a Local Management Entity, covering the geographic areas of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland counties. SER ensures continuity of care to consumers through access to a quality of care system available 24/7/365 days a year through management of our network provider services.


The Village for Families & Children, Inc.

Galo A. Rodriguez, M.P.H., President & CEO

COA Peer Reviewers demonstrated their expertise through their knowledge of COA standards as well as experience in the behavioral health field. In addition, COA’s seminars and tools were very helpful in guiding us through the accreditation process.
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