Received from Rich Sammons | Added to the site March 2013.
Comments on archive entry – Routines, Limits and Anchor Points
“Glad to see that John’s wonderful work remains influential.
In 1972, while returning to Illinois some 1,000 + children that the state had placed throughout the country in a variety of less than relevant residential facilities, we merged Browndale with a community/family oriented Illinois program called Kaleidoscope, and developed a continuum of care for the more difficult kids coming home. That continuum consisted of family outreach into the natural, or extended, family homes, placement in small 3-4 bed homes similar to what Browndale had developed throughout Canada, and supervised independent living for the older adolescents. My wife and I then developed similar programs in Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, and DC in an attempt to demonstrate that if we spent as much on a natural family bed as we spent on a residential treatment center bed we would
1) get better long term results for entire family units
2) be able to serve a much wider range of kids/families needing support and services.
Like Browndale, the philosophy was founded on principles of normalization, and the programs had a no reject/no eject intake-discharge policy, and made an unconditional commitment to work with kids and families no matter how difficult they were. Since the residential programs had relatively restrictive intake policies and/or discharged the more difficult kids, we had no problem getting referrals.
Also like Browndale, we believed in small heterogeneous groupings in the alternative homes, rather than larger homogeneous milieus that dominated residential and institutional settings. A 4 bed home might consist of an autistic child, a developmentally disabled youngster, a behavior problem kid etc., and would include both sexes. We felt this was less threatening for the kids than a large homogeneous mileau where there was significant contamination, and thus a dependence on artificial group control devices. Our clinicians had no authoritarian positions, but were utilized in a consultive role, similar to the way a family utilized a family physician. Will be happy to forward some additional info if you like. Anyway, I know John also did some work in England and, I believe, the Netherlands, and would like to know if you know of any of his work in those areas, since I’m hoping to arrange a visit within the next year.”