Children’s Home Resumes 24/7 Therapeutic Crisis Respite Program in Watertown

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Since the pandemic, mental health struggles have been a top concern.

Especially among teens. According to Austen LaBarge, the Children’s Home of Jefferson County’s Director of Clinical Operations, there has been an increased demand for services.

“These issues were prevalent before COVID and COVID added some fuel to the fire,” LaBarge said. “We are experiencing increased demand, increased access for all our mental health programs.”

A reason why CHJC restarted 24/7 programming for its Therapeutic Crisis Respite Program. This is a short-term intensive respite option for teens ages 10 through 17.

It allows youth to stay at one of the Children’s Homes “cottages” in Watertown when they face mental health struggles at home. TCRP includes supervision, therapeutic support and skill-building.

“Being back to 24/7 operations really allows us to give those families kind of a break,” LaBarge added. “Because a lot of mental health symptoms, you know, the family system can influence that.”

This program provides a home-like atmosphere for its participating youth. Teens can stay up to 21 days per year in the cottages with day and night support.

TCRP Coordinator Chelsey Carr explained that this can help decrease risks such as self-harm or other harm.

“My staff are with them 24/7, so we might go the park, we may get to the pool, we may go for a walk,” Carr shared. “Some of the kids actually find out new activities that they never knew they liked and we’re able to connect them with those services when they go home.”

This program is a parent and guardian referral program. TCRP accepts and completes intakes any time of the day or night, 365 days a year, and accepts all insurances.

“Kids need a safe place, they need somewhere they can go,” Carr expressed. “We’re a safe place. They’re allowed to be themselves here. They’re not judged for what’s going on or maybe what’s going on at home.”