Bridges Therapeutic Foster Care.

Bridges Therapeutic Foster Care

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Abbott House’s Bridges Therapeutic Foster Care program represents a place to call home. Offering an escape from volatile and harmful living situations, Abbott House proudly serves as a home away from home for youth in Mitchell and Rapid City.

The years of a child’s youth are inarguably the most formative years of their life, however, many children face hardships in the home – faced with abuse and neglect. These children in harmful living conditions are in our neighborhoods, our classrooms, and our communities – most of which goes unnoticed. For those youth out there who are faced with the unimaginable, Abbott House’s Bridges Therapeutic Foster Care is here to help, catering to placements from the South Dakota Department of Social Services, South Dakota Department of Corrections, and more. Your hope is here.

Abbott House’s current capacity to serve:

Abbott House operates four therapeutic foster homes that can house up to 24 young children ages 10 to 17 at one time in Mitchell, SD.  All of the foster homes can house 6 children.

Abbott House also operates four therapeutic foster homes in Rapid City, SD; two homes have six bedrooms to serve boys, from birth to 17 years old, and the other two homes have 6 bedrooms for girls from birth to 17 years old. Once they are 18 years of age, they may to transition to the Larson Independent Living Apartments.

“You can become a mom and dad to a child who has no one else to really count on in life. You can make a difference in the life of a child that has been rejected, abused, broken, and left alone. You are giving them the chance to experience what a real family can be and give them a place to call their home.”

“As a parent you always want your kids to succeed. In a therapeutic foster home setting, it is challenging to know that the best way for these children to succeed in life is to step back when they have a setback or experience a failure. It’s hard to not enable them to be successful. But allowing a child to fail in a safe environment and for them to know that their foster parent is there to encourage and to support them through a problem is the best way for the child to figure things out on their own which in turn will help them to becoming successful. This is actually true for all parents. It can also be challenging to balance the foster care program with your own personal family times as well as being sure to guard personal time for yourself. The most rewarding part is seeing the girls taking steps forward. Hearing from the girls after they are gone and hearing them share their appreciation for being in the home and how much it means to them that we were there for them and how the overall experiences they had in our home impacted their lives.”

The necessity of therapeutic foster care:

Where many young people are floated from foster home to foster home due to a variety of circumstances ranging from behavioral problems to overpopulation, and more, Bridges Therapeutic Foster Care is welcoming of those with unique needs that can be remedied by therapeutic means.

All of these young people no longer require residential psychiatric treatment, but lack the skills necessary to live independently. A salaried couple lives in each home and serves as the parental figures for the young people living in their respective homes. Many of the girls are former residents of Abbott House but are considered difficult to place in regular foster homes because of age or behavioral problems.

Once youth graduate from the Abbott House treatment program, all of the therapy and emotional work may be lost if they cannot use their coping and communication skills in a real family setting. These homes provide a family environment where girls and boys learn skills needed as they transition into adulthood. Each resident of the foster homes has his/her own bedroom, attends school and holds a summer job if appropriate. Abbott House sees these homes as an investment toward independence and personal responsibility.