Abigail Rockwell Children's Center

The Retreat's Abigail Rockwell Children's Center (ARCC) is a multi-track residential treatment center providing expert care for children ages 6 to 14. Located in a home-style dwelling that accommodates 8 children, this setting is ideal for specialized programming to help children who are transitioning from childhood to adolescence.


Treatment Philosophy & Approach

Every moment at the Abigail Rockwell Children's Center is a teaching and modeling moment-from practicing appropriate communication and social skills to studying in class, participating in recreational activities, and eating meals together. Each child, depending on his or her needs and circumstances, will be provided:

  • a complete evaluation and assessment
  • in-home consultation (as appropriate)
  • crisis stabilization (if needed)

Our goal is to help children internalize appropriate behavior as they see it modeled and practiced on a daily basis. Operating under a biopsychosocial model, the Abigail Rockwell Children's Center uses several therapy modalities including:

  • individual therapy
  • group therapy
  • family/sibling therapy
  • milieu therapy (ongoing teaching in a safe environment)
  • recreation/team building groups.

Emphasizing a family-oriented approach, the Center also offers family outreach therapy. Together with local agency representatives, we work with the family to provide in-home parent training, crisis planning, family and sibling therapy, and home visits to practice family work.

As many children progress through the ARCC program they are often able to participate independently in community activities, utilizing the skills they have learned to achieve personal success.

Assessment & Evaluation

Who is appropriate for ARCC?

These are boys and girls who are typically diagnosed with mood disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse and attachment disorders. Many have been victims of sexual abuse and/or suffer from sexual reactivity. They often exhibit self-destructive or endangering behavior that does not allow them to function appropriately in family, school, or community settings. Most children are referred to ARCC through:

  • state social services offices
  • mental health agencies
  • school officials.
Services & Treatment - Crisis Track

Crisis stabilization for young people ages 6 to 14 generally lasts between 2 and 10 days.

  • ARCC staff participates as members of the treatment team before, during, and after a child's stay
  • The stabilization team provides home, resident, and providers with a "Tool Box" to assist in the use of special sensory tools while also helping to stabilize the child's home environment and remain as a link in the continuum of care.
  • A therapist will provide a written report with recommendations, testing needs and in home assessments (as appropriate).
  • Complete assessment and recommendations will be provided along with any needed psychiatric follow-up.
  • Crisis staff is present 24-hours-a-day. Staff members are fully trained in crisis work, pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), and the therapeutic use of sensory tools.
Services & Treatment - Short-Term Track

This is for young people who need further assessment and treatment. Typical stays last from 30 to 60 days, which allows the treatment team to provide:

  • further stabilization
  • in-home support and treatment
  • needs assessment and further recommendations
  • psychiatric care (as needed)
  • facilitation of continued enrollment at the resident's home school (or tutoring and on-site schooling at the Brattleboro Retreat)
Services & Treatment - Residential Track

This type of service can range from 90 days to a year or more. In addition to services listed above, children in this track may also benefit from:

  • intensive family-based therapy (as well as training for potential foster parents)
  • weekly psychiatric care and assessment
  • educational and psychiatric testing (as needed)
  • specialized alternative school
  • group work on topics such as anger, trauma, and coping skills
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) with a trained therapist

Services & Treatment - Recreational and Team Building Groups

Through treatment groups of up to four peers and outings into the local community, each child can develop age-appropriate, healthy interests and practice the skills they will need to better navigate home, school, friendships, and extracurricular activities. The ARCC's recreation groups focus on:

  • leisure education
  • skills acquisition
  • peer relations and interactions
  • community reintegration.

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