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Schools & Program Visits - Apr, 1996 Issue #39 

Residential Treatment Center for Adolescents
Syracuse, Utah
Jared Balmer, Ph.D., Executive Director
Lon's Visit: January 29, 1996 

The first impression upon entering Island View is of a neat, clean and calm place. The lobby is suggestive of a living room, while still being functional for reception duties. Past the lobby, the children (ages 12 to 18) seemed to be engaged with their activities in a manner that suggests they felt safe, and the staff appeared confident and comfortably in control. The rooms in the living quarters were picked up, having a comfortable and neat "lived in" look. 

There is no question that the place was secure (doors were locked and a key is necessary to go from one part of the building to another), but the walls were decorated tastefully in a manner that it was obvious a lot of thought went into the furnishings. 

Executive Director Jared Balmer, when asked what he thought was the most important reason for their success, immediately responded, "We don't hire rookies." He pointed out that the staff were all credentialed and each had successful professional track records before coming to Island View. 

Each child is in a team with about 15 other children. When a child is admitted, an effort is made to place him/her in the most appropriate team. Each team is named after a color, and there is relatively little contact between the teams, each team having its own living space and separate activities. Staff are on a three day on, three day off schedule, and houseparents live with the children, having an apartment in the wing next to the children they work with. Two slogans that are prominent on the walls, and on tee-shirts, do a good summary of their philosophy: "It is never too late for a happy childhood," and "We demand greatness, not compliance." 

Academics are important, all children are expected to continue academic progress throughout their stay at Island View. In the classes I observed, the students seemed engaged and the teachers had the students interest. 

Island View is JACHO accredited, and Jared asserts they are very successful in helping parents obtain insurance coverage because of the Center's ability to keep costs significantly lower than other Treatment Centers. 

A follow-up plan is developed early on in the child's stay, and follow-up plans are emphasized in contacts with parents and professionals throughout the child's stay. 

Island View is a relatively new facility, being founded about a year and a half ago, and it is still growing, which was evident by the construction just being started on another building adjacent to the existing structure. 

Copyright 1995, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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