391 Western Avenue, Albany, New York :: (518) 242-4731

Information for Parents of Residential Youth

LaSalle School operates a Residential Treatment Center, where adolescent boys ages 12-21, who are referred through DSS, Probation, or their home school district, can come to work on issues which have put them at risk. There are six living units where the boys who reside at LaSalle stay. Each unit has a team of well-trained Child Care Workers under the leadership of a highly experienced Division Manager. We use a treatment team approach, and each division has a Masters level Social Worker assigned to the residents. The residents all attend our campus school, which operates a New York State certified Jr/Sr High School with grades 6-12. We are very proud of our work with the residents and their families, and look forward to providing you and your family with a positive and helpful experience.

We understand that parents may have a lot of questions about what to expect when their son is placed at LaSalle School. While this document will attempt to provide some of those answers, you should never hesitate to ask questions when you have them. Staff will put you in touch with someone who can try and provide answers.

Q: What kind of therapeutic supports and services will my child receive?

A: Upon admission, each resident begins work with a Masters level Social Worker to address the issues identified as leading to his placement. They meet with that Social Worker every week in an individual or group session which is strength based and focuses on the skills, insights, and supports he needs to achieve his goals. Residents undergo psychiatric and psychological evaluations during the first thirty days of treatment, and follow-up reviews as needed. There are clinic staff specially trained in substance abuse treatment who can provide additional services when alcohol or substance use issues put the resident at risk of continued problems. Other clinicians who specialize in treating trauma, mental illness, sexual victimization, or sexually aggressive behaviors are assigned to a resident’s team as needed. Throughout placement youth work on developing various pro-social and self management skills including anger management, navigating social and interpersonal relationships, improving communication, sound decision making, effective problem solving, and taking responsibility for his actions.

Q: When will he be home for visits?

A: At that first formal conference, the home visit plan is reviewed. If there are no safety issues which prohibit home visiting, a home visit contract is prepared which identifies key guidelines and expectations for visiting. Visits are part of the treatment plan, and offer the child and his family an opportunity to spend time together, and work on the parts of the treatment goals involving family interactions and making safe choices. The very first visit is for a brief period of time, determined by the Social Worker with input from the parent. Eventually residents work up to weekend visits twice a month, with some longer visits around holidays. Your Social Worker will give you a copy of the Home Visit schedule and explain how you will participate in determining the plan for each visit.

Q: How does La Salle address medication issues?

A: When a child is going to be admitted to La Salle, it is important to provide us with detailed information about any medication he has been taking, who the prescriber is, and what the dosage has been. The medication must be brought in the original container. We will work with our pediatrician and psychiatrist to maintain any prescription which has been in place. For boys who need medication for a health issue while in placement, the pediatrician here can prescribe that medication, and we can get it from our local pharmacy. When there is an indication that he needs medication for psychiatric purposes, the parent is contacted, informed of the basis for that recommendation, and asked for consent. Upon consent, we will send you a written consent form we will need returned for our files. All medication is dispensed by our infirmary staff. A resident on medication will need to take that medication during home visits. It will be important to coordinate a plan for that with our Infirmary.

Q: In addition to family sessions and campus visits, is there any other time I need to come to campus?

A: After the first month of placement, a formal conference is scheduled, where the treatment team, including the parent, discuss the information and set treatment goals and determine an educational plan based on what we have learned from assessments and evaluations. At that time, your son’s readiness for his first home visit is assessed. It’s very important for the parent to attend and participate in this planning conference. You will get a written invitation and should call the Social Worker to determine what we need to do to be sure you are a part of this meeting. Follow-up conferences are scheduled approximately every three months. We have special events and mail invitations to parents for those. Your involvement is important, and will directly contribute to our ability to provide a successful experience for you and your child. The clinicians working with you and your son will work to schedule family sessions throughout placement.

Q: What services does La Salle provide to the family of a resident?

A: The child lives at La Salle, and the family is involved in the treatment services working to address the reasons that led to his placement with us. From the very beginning, the parent contributes to our understanding of the issues and concerns that brought us into your lives. The parent and child both participate in the goal setting process, and clinic staff assist everyone to take a serious look at what changes need to happen for things to be better when he returns home. Family meetings, family sessions, and case conferences all provide opportunities to work together to achieve those goals.

Q: What is the role of the Child Care staff in the division where he lives?

A: A team of Child Care staff provide round the clock supervision and support in a therapeutic environment which emphasizes safety and positive behavioral choices. They are aware of each resident’s goals and provide him opportunities to demonstrate progress toward achieving those goals. The daily routine is carefully monitored to assure each resident strives to meet expectations and follow the rules. Most boys who come into placement have had a history of difficulty with the important link between behaviors and consequences, positive or negative. Positive reinforcement, frequent reminders and hurdle help provide each resident with the feedback he needs to act safely and responsibly. Staff responses to youth who make poor choices are well defined and assist youth to begin to think before they act and anticipate the consequences of his actions. There is a level system, and day to day privileges are determined by the level a resident is on. His behaviors in school, in the division, during recreational outings, and during home visits can all have an impact on his level. We don’t forget that they are teenagers with lots of energy. When the boys are not in school, Child Care staff provide age-appropriate and wholesome recreational activities, and encourage each boy to seek positive ways to spend their time and have fun.

Q: When can I see my son?

A: Once a child is admitted, we encourage the parents to plan on visiting him on campus. Those visits have to be scheduled ahead of time. You set up those visits with the Social Worker assigned to his division. They generally occur on a Sunday afternoon, for a limited amount of time, and generally are limited to pre-approved adult relatives. Visits can be scheduled around a parent’s work obligations. We encourage you to come to campus during the week shortly after your child has been placed to meet with the Social Worker, and participate in an initial family session.

Q: When can I call my son?

A: The Social Worker sets up a phone pass, based on each child’s situation, which permits each resident to make two phone calls each week to family members. Children can also receive two calls each week from those pre-approved family members. As you can imagine, with 12-15 boys in a division, we do limit the length of calls to 10 minutes. There are set times those calls may be made and your child’s Social Worker will explain that schedule to you. Whenever you have an emergency, day or night, you can speak to the Social Worker or On Duty Supervisor. We do request that you alert staff prior to discussing any upsetting news with your son, so we can provide him with the support he may need to manage his worries or concerns. We also encourage you to call staff immediately if a conversation you have with your child leads you to be concerned for his emotional state.

Q: What can I expect when it nears time for discharge?

A: The Treatment Team starts talking with you about discharge planning soon after a child is admitted to our residential program. The Residential Social Worker will initiate those discussions with you and your child. If you reside in a county where we provide a Community Connections Worker, there will be an additional counselor who meets with you regularly while your son is living at La Salle, to identify supports and services you and your son will need to have in place when he returns home. That Community Connections Counselor will continue to work with you after he is discharged from residence. The transition home is exciting and stressful for most families. We understand the importance of a good plan, and will work with you to be sure one is in place.

Q: What can my son bring to LaSalle?

A: He may bring some family photos, appropriate reading material, a simple music player with headphones (nothing worth over $50.00), and his own clothing. He may not bring valuables, a TV, cell phone, internet device, camera, or any tobacco products. At the Intake interview, you will receive information about prohibited items.