FamilyLightsm: Successor to Bridge to Understandingsm
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Devereux Foundation is the perfect illustration of why dealing with facilities depending primarily on public funding can be an exercise in frustration. When we have dealt with Devereux, we have been unimpressed by the energy (or lack thereof of some of the clinicians, the administration reminded us of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. More specifically, in dealing with the needs of a young person at their Mapleton facility in Malvern, PA, we had one staff member telling us one thing and the school district supporting his treatment something entirely different. While this seemed to be a problem of one rogue employee of the Devereux Foundation, when we complained to the administrative head of the Mapleton program, he stated that he could do nothing about it. It seems that the staff member at issue was in the fiscal section of the foundation itself and did not report to him. We read between the lines that foundation politics made that employee immune to criticism.
We would welcome information from responsible sources refuting this point of view. We will publish it, subject to our Rules for Submission.
Supposedly, the exception is the Glenholme School in Connecticut. In fairness they are attuned to private referral sources, private pay and IDEA funded students and clients. We agree that the culture there is different from most of Devereux, very much for the better. But like the rest of Devereux, we are unsatisfied with the responsiveness of the staff and administration at Glenholme.
We have two specific concerns about Glenholme. One is about accountability; the other is about clinical appropriateness. As to accountability, Executive Director (at the time this occurred) Gary Fitzherbert, insisted that he was only open to addressing a problem that arose and seeking a resolution if Tom Croke (our consultant) were to drive 350 miles each way to see him in his office. Clinically, we see little that is constructive in the radical nature of the token economy, as we have understood it. While we understand the argument for such programming, and its benefit in some cases, our guidelines suggest that relationships are the heart of change and growth. Prior to providing any positive review on Glenholme, we will need to see a completed questionnaire and be assured of at least two things: (1) The resistance to accountability characterized by our previous encounter with Fitzherbert is not currently a part of the culture, policy, or practice at Glenholme, and (2) the radical application of token economy as we have understood it, has either been modified or they can provide research based evidence that it is appropriate to the population served and does not interfere with development of healthy relationships between students and staff.
We are aware that there are referring professionals who are very positive about Glenholme. We want people reading this to know that not everyone with genuine expertise agrees with us about Glenholme. We hope one or more of those who do not agree will write a review for us from a positive point of view. Toward that end we have linked a positive report from Woodbury Reports. We note that the visit report includes an assertion that Glenholme has eliminated group work in accordance with Best Practices. That claim frankly strains our credibility. We contacted Dr. Larry Stednitz, author of that report and a person we highly respect. He indicated that he had not had the opportunity to compare that claim to any research or published best practice standard. He reconfirmed that Glenholme asserted the claim. According to Glenholme's literature, they admit children who might have difficulty with social cues and peer interaction. Claims of Best Practice Standards contraindicating group work for such children are surprising at best.
We hope to reconsider or reservations about Devereux facilities when and if we receive appropriate fully completed questionnaire responses. Short of that, we will publish for Devereux, as we would do for any school, an official response from the organization itself, with or without a questionnaire. But we do not anticipate a positive review of Devereux programming unless or until we recieve a full questionnaire and have the opportunity to validate its claims.
We do want to be clear that we have no reason to criticize Devereux regarding issues of student/client/patient safety. We have never heard of any reason to suggest that Devereux is inadequate on safety issues.
We anticipate creating a separate review page for the Glenholme School.
Feedback is invited. We will publish feedback in good taste. Email FamilyLightResponse@yahoo.com
Disclaimer: No program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation. When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree. When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source. We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance. It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines. Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.
Last updated 10-26-09
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