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

Information for Residential Program Youth

Welcome to LaSalle School’s Residential Treatment Center! Teenagers like you are referred through DSS, Probation, or their home school districts and come to work on issues which have put them at risk. There are six different living units and if you come to LaSalle you will stay in one of these units, called ‘divisions.’ Each division has a team of well-trained Child Care Workers who will be providing you with supervision and support while you are here. There is a highly experienced Division Manager in charge of each Division. We use a treatment team approach and you and the other residents in your division will have a Social Worker who will help you throughout your stay at LaSalle. You will attend our campus school to continue to work towards your high school diploma. We’re very proud of our work with the residents and their families, and look forward to providing you and your family with a positive a helpful experience.

We understand that you may have a lot of questions about what to expect while you are 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.

Q: What can I bring to La Salle?

A: You may bring family photos, appropriate books or magazines, small music players with headphones, and an alarm clock. You can bring your own clothing, as long as it does not have any inappropriate words or graphics on them (nothing themed on violence, sex, drugs, alcohol, or gangs). You should not bring anything with great sentimental or monetary value. You cannot bring a large stereo, TV, cell phone, pager, camera, or computer. You may not bring anything that has internet capability. You should not bring jewelry and are not allowed to have any piercings other than a traditional small stud earring. Tobacco products are prohibited, as are matches and lighters. Our facility does not have secure storage for valuables and will not take responsibility for those items. Please leave them at home. The Division Manager will answer any questions you have about what you may or may not have here. La Salle will provide you with bedding, personal hygiene products, a duffle bag, and additional clothing to be sure you have what you need. We suggest you leave some clothing items at home for when you start your scheduled visits. There is a washer and dryer in the Division where you’ll be doing your laundry every week. You cannot wear do-rags or hats during the school day or in the dining room. You should not bring large sums of money to La Salle. You get a weekly allowance, and that should cover anything you might need money for. Any money you do have here should be locked up in the division safe or deposited in your savings account here. Residents may not carry cash.

Q: Do the kids here fight all the time?

A: No. We do have boys here who get into fights from time to time, but staff are always around to try and prevent fights, and are trained to safely break them up when they do happen. Always let staff know if you are having a problem with a peer, or if you feel like you are getting frustrated with someone or feel like you might start a fight. Staff are trained in conflict resolution and will assist you to manage disagreements without resorting to aggression.

Q: Can I get a job?

A: We think learning the skills you will need to get a job is important at your age. First, you have to work on treatment goals and make some progress with that. Our School To Work Transition Coordinator holds some after school classes which are the next step to take if you are interested in working. We do have some campus jobs which you can apply for once you have made some progress towards your goals. There are various opportunities to work on your job readiness skills, and staff will keep you informed of which ones you should try and get involved in. Older residents who have done well with their campus job can be recommeded for off campus jobs. We expect you to save half of what you earn. We provide savings accounts for students. Of course, the most important “job” you have while you are here is to do well and achieve your goals!

Q: Are there girls at La Salle School?

A: No, La Salle School is an all-male facility.

Q: What about going home for visits?

A: After your first conference, which is about a month after you get here, your Social Worker and parent will begin discussing home visits. If there are no safety issues preventing an off campus visit, you and your parent and treatment team will work on a home visit contract to set down the rules and identify the important things you and your family need to agree upon for the visit to go well. The first visit home is for a short time, to see how well you can all do together. When things are going well, home visits can happen as often as twice a month. They usually start after school on Friday and finish Sunday afternoon. We try and schedule visits around all the important holidays. If for some reason, you are not able to go on home visits, your Social Worker will work on a special plan to be sure you get to see members of your family.

Q: Can I leave campus?

A: Only with staff supervision. You can’t leave property on your own.

Q: Will I be able to call or e-mail friends or have them visit me while I’m at La Salle?

A: While you are here, your phone calls are limited to pre-approved family members. Your Social Worker will explain that to you further. Usually you are allowed to call your family twice a week, and they can call you here twice a week, too. Your Social Worker puts that schedule together after they find out which evenings your parent is home to get your calls. There is no e-mail system here for residents. You cannot bring any electronic devices that connect to the Internet. Campus visitors are limited to family members. You may write letters to your friends, which we can mail for you. You may give your friends the address so they can send you mail here, as well. When you are here, we really want you to focus on doing the work you need to do to return home safely and successfully!

Q: What kind of work do you mean?

A: The staff here will help you to figure out what led up to your being placed, and identify what things you need to work on to be able to return home and do better! You might need to work on developing various pro-social and self management skills including anger management, improving your ability to interact with peers or adults, making good decisions, finding ways to solve a problem, following rules, being safe in the community, or taking responsibility for your actions. You and your parent will spend time identifying ways to work together to address things that were problems before you came into placement. Staff will help you both to figure those things out.

Q: What is the role of the Child Care staff in the division where I live?

A: The 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 your goals and provide you with opportunities to work toward achieving those goals. The daily routine is carefully monitored to assure you know what the rules are and have help as you learn to follow the rules. Most boys who come into placement have had a history of difficulty with the important link between behaviors and consequences. Staff will help you think before you act and make choices which will help you progress toward your goals. There is a level system, and day to day privileges are determined by the level you are on. Your behaviors in school, in the division, during recreational outings, and during home visits can all have an impact on your level. It’s not all work and no play when you are not in school. Child Care staff provide all kinds of recreational activities and opportunities to have fun. Some activities are on campus, and some are off campus. You have to be with staff whenever you go off campus.

Q: Can I play sports here?

A: La Salle does not have the same kinds of teams that public schools have, but we do have a lot of informal sports activities for our residents. Your division staff and the recreation department will provide opportunities to engage in plenty of sports activities during your stay here.

Q: When can I see my family?

A: We encourage your parents to plan on visiting you on campus soon after you arrive. Those visits have to be scheduled ahead of time. Your parent will set up those visits with your Social Worker. They generally occur on a Sunday afternoon, for a limited amount of time, and are limited to pre-approved adult relatives. It’s not unusual to be homesick when you arrive, and it’s important that you let staff know so they can help you with that. We want you and your family to spend time together. In addition to campus visits, your Social Worker will schedule some family meetings which will be important opportunities for you and your parent to talk over issues and plan for your return home. Your parents will be invited to the conferences when your treatment team (social workers, residential staff, and teachers) reviews your goals and discusses ways they can help you get ready to go home. You will be invited to those conferences too!

Q: Can I smoke?

A: La Salle is a smoke free campus. Smoking will result in a write-up and will effect your level. If you were a smoker before you came to La Salle, staff can help you to manage the challenges of quitting. You may not have tobacco products or lighters or matches in your possession at any time.

Q: What is school like here?

A: La Salle has grades 6 – 12, and has classes just like any school. You will get a schedule based on your grade, what you need to pass the state exams, and what your learning needs are. We have a regular school calendar, plus six weeks of summer school. You’ll be learning the same things you would be learning in public school. You will have a different teacher for each subject, and change classes each period. Our classes are small and you earn credits toward your diploma for all the classes you pass. We don’t have a GED program here.

Q: When will I be discharged?

A: Your county or school district sets up that timeline. It depends on who places you here. Your Social Worker will discuss that with you. Just remember that it’s important that you work on making whatever time you have here count in a positive way! You are surrounded by people who want to help you get ready to return home and do well. Some
residents are working towards a discharge to Independent Living. Those youth work on the skills to prepare them for that, and may remain at LaSalle longer and participate in our special services for youth who are not planning to return home.