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Youth Villages and Germaine Lawrence merge to better meet needs of Massachusetts children and families

September 12, 2012

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Germaine Lawrence Merger Ceremony, a set on Flickr.

Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization with five offices in Massachusetts, and Germaine Lawrence, a residential treatment campus for girls, celebrated their merger today at the organization’s Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus in Arlington.

The merger will allow Youth Villages Massachusetts to create a continuum of care that allows children with emotional and behavioral issues to transition smoothly between programs of different levels of treatment intensity, depending on children’s individual needs. Girls referred to Youth Villages Massachusetts for help now will be able to move seamlessly between the Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus’ residential and community-based programs for girls as well as Youth Villages’ intensive in-home services for children and their families and its transitional living program for former foster youth.

“This merger benefits Massachusetts’ troubled children and their families by providing them with greater options and seamless transitions between treatment programs,” said David Hirshberg, CEO of Germaine Lawrence who led the merger ceremonies. “By merging our organizations, we’re proud to be able to provide a wider variety of much-needed programs to children and their families – programs that are both effective and cost-effective. This is a win-win for children, families, the commonwealth and our two organizations.”

Youth Villages’ Evidentiary Family Restoration™ approach strives to stabilize and strengthen families of troubled children by working with them in their own homes to avoid the need for a child’s placement in out-of-home treatment. The same program also helps children who have been placed into residential treatment, group homes or foster care to successfully transition home, achieving high long-term success rates around 80% at two years after program completion. Youth Villages’ transitional living program helps foster youth approaching adulthood make a successful transition into independence. Both programs now will be available to the girls receiving help at the Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus, and girls in Youth Villages’ programs now may benefit from an easier transition to the organization’s new residential programs should they need a more intensive level of care.

Hirshberg, Youth Villages CEO Patrick Lawler and Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus staff and girls participated in today’s merger ceremony. The celebration featured a poem written and recited by a girl receiving help at the Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus, as well as performances from girls on the campus and a speech by a Germaine Lawrence alumna. The merger ceremony was followed by a cookout for staff and the girls being helped on the campus.

More about Germaine Lawrence

Germaine Lawrence is a residential treatment campus for adolescent girls with complex behavioral, psychological and learning challenges. Germaine Lawrence’s roots go back to 1908, when an Episcopalian priest founded an orphanage on Arlington land donated to him by a woman who acted as caretaker and later founded the Order of St. Anne Convent at the site. By 1928, the orphanage had become St. Anne’s School, a private Episcopalian boarding school for girls. In the 1960s and ’70s, the school began taking on girls with emotional and behavioral issues through a partnership with the Department of Social Services. The school eventually separated from the Order of St. Anne and, in 1980, became the Germaine Lawrence residential treatment campus. Over the years, Germaine Lawrence added treatment programs to supplement its residential program, including assessments, intensive residential services, one of the region’s only specialized programs for girls who have been commercially sexually exploited, Community-Based Acute Treatment, along with an intensive group home. Germaine Lawrence has a staff of about 200, helping approximately 500 girls every year. Its FY12 operating budget was $11 million. For more information about Germaine Lawrence, visit www.youthvillages.org/germainelawrence.

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