Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saying Goodbye

At Klingberg we are saying goodbye to many people and many things at many levels. We are closing several of our residential programs, discharging our kids, and laying off some of our staff. It is a sad time.

I am completely committed to the principle of supporting kids in family homes whenever possible. We are developing several new programs to aid that effort. I am excited about these new possibilities.
However, it is the end of an era for us. We did very good work in our residential programs. We used a trauma-informed, Risking Connection based approach. We love our kids. We have been looking through old pictures and marveling at all the wonderful things we did together: Boston trips, picnics, camping, fancy dinners, and all the everyday moments. As we look through the pictures we remember how much we learned from each child.
Klingberg has a reputation for excellent treatment of the most severely wounded children in our state. The children who came to us were lost in a morass of self-hatred and hopelessness. Because of their pain they often had to resort to extreme behaviors. We were okay with that. When David came out with blood streaming down his face from self inflicted wounds, the nurse calmly cleaned and bandaged his wounds, and his team mate calmly asked him what was wrong. When Autumn ran away, we welcomed her back and began working on safe places she could go when she was upset. When Dawn was aggressive and mean to staff, we made safety plans, and we didn’t turn against her and carefully reviewed her diary card about what led up to the event. When Sharon recently felt that her discharge plan was shaky and pulled the fire alarm, we understood that she was trying to get our attention in the best way she knew how. Because of the assets we have, we were able to stick with kids more or less whatever they did. And this led to an incredibly high number of ultimate positive discharges (around 90%) when they were finally able to feel safe and worthwhile. It is sad to see the treatment system we worked so hard to create be dismantled.
We are saying goodbye to some talented staff, and wish them well at our sister agencies that have been lucky enough to hire them. Some staff have moved to other Klingberg programs.
We are saying good bye to our present kids, some to placements we are confident about, some to ones we wonder about. For all we have sent them off with hope and support.
So many kids come back to Klingberg to visit and talk about what their stay meant to them. Jennifer brought her daughter and was overheard to say to her: “this is where Mommy became a person.” Now when the kids come back, who will they find?
It is sad to see the empty rooms.
We are trying to do good, careful goodbyes with everyone. We are acknowledging each others’ sadness. We are working hard on moving into the future.
One of our former Directors always used to say: “Change is hard. Change is good.”
I hope so.

1 comment:

Britt Bravo said...

Hi Patricia ~ I'm so sorry you have to close some of your residential programs and lay off staff. I hope that spring will bring new opportunities for the organization.