Hephzibah Children’s Association operates two group homes for children between the ages of 3 and 12: our Diagnostic Treatment Center, where abused and neglected children undergo several months of stabilization and evaluation, and our Residence, a longer-term therapeutic program for severely traumatized children who need more time to heal.
A typical child admitted to our group homes has experienced heartbreaking emotional and physical traumas, numerous failed foster care placements or the devastating disappointment of a failed adoption.
Some children have lost parents through addiction, chronic illness or mental instability. Many suffer from malnutrition, medical neglect, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly all have limited social and self-care skills, as well as academic deficiencies due to the many disruptions in their lives.
As we help these children heal, we nurture them with love, buoy them up with therapeutic supports, address their academic gaps and broaden their horizons by exposing them to a wide variety of enrichment activities.
At these short- and long-term group homes, children find the safety, consistency, structure and therapeutic support that they need to begin the healing process and prepare for a return to family life with biological family members or in loving foster and adoptive homes.
The Diagnostic Treatment Center
Each child’s healing journey through Hephzibah Home begins in our Diagnostic Treatment Center. This short-term group home, where abused and neglected children undergo a 90- to 120-day period of stabilization and evaluation, is the only diagnostic treatment center in Illinois for children between the ages of three and 12. Established in 1985, the Diagnostic Treatment Center at Hephzibah Home can house up to 16 children at any given time.
Because Hephzibah is one of the few group homes in the state that accepts children transitioning from inpatient psychiatric treatment, approximately 80 percent the children we serve enter the Diagnostic Treatment Center after stays in pediatric psychiatric hospitals. These children come from all over Illinois—and many have nowhere else to turn.
Our initial objectives are to provide safety, structure, consistency and a warm, loving environment for these children—a safe haven where the healing can begin.
After an initial period of stabilization, our social workers conduct comprehensive diagnostic evaluations to determine the therapeutic supports that should be put in place to help each child heal physically, emotionally and psychologically; the future placements that will best meet their needs; and the support services that will help ensure their long-term success.
During this time, the children attend local schools, participate in community activities and benefit from local mental health services, including individual psychotherapy. After their stay at the Diagnostic Treatment Center, many move on to less restrictive placements with biological or foster families.
Sometimes, children have been so traumatized by chronic abuse or neglect that they are unable to make the transition to a family setting after their short-term stay in our Diagnostic Treatment Center.
These children are moved upstairs to Hephzibah’s Residence, which is internationally recognized for its successful outcomes. In the Residence, which houses up to 10 children at a time, these survivors of abuse and neglect receive the intensive therapeutic supports they need to complete the healing process and develop the skills they need to succeed in a family setting.
After a one- to two-year stay, many are ready to love and live in a family again. Since this award-winning residential program was established in 1992, hundreds of severely traumatized children have found a safe haven and a place to heal in the Residence at Hephzibah Home.
Are you a former Hephzibah Home resident?
We’d love to hear from you! Email Hephzibah Development Director Juliet Yera to arrange a visit, let us know how you’re doing, share your story with the children living in our group homes or add your name to our list of Hephzibah alumni so we can notify you about upcoming reunions and events.