Families with children who suffer from serious behavior problems can now use Annie Malone Child and Family Service Centerthe expanded therapeutic academy of for more preventive crisis care services.
The expansion of the HW KIA Academy comes months after the Greater Ville organization battled staff issues and coronavirus outbreaks.
In April, the Missouri Department of Human Services suspended admission to Annie Malone’s residential treatment facility at 5355 Page Blvd. The DSS cited the center for failing to comply with licensing guidelines during night shifts: it failed to comply with staff-to-student ratio requirements and failed to report critical incidents in the deadlines.
In July, the association voluntarily decided to definitively stop its 24-hour childcare services at the center. He will use the facility of the treatment center to house his academy this school year.
The renovation of the residential center and the expansion of the academy allow Annie Malone to provide more services to prevent children from entering the foster care system, said Sara Lahman, CEO of Annie Malone Children and Family Services Center.
“It was definitely a tough year, as everyone has had it with the pandemic,” Lahman said. “And we’re just changing the way we meet the needs of the community as best we can.”
Lahman said the closure of the residential treatment center was voluntary because the organization was unable to keep workers fully employed during the pandemic. Quarantine requirements from coronavirus outbreaks have limited the centre’s staff pool.
DSS also placed the center on a corrective action plan in March for not having the appropriate number of staff per student, lack of staff supervision with student populations, and lack of training in safe crisis management. for direct care staff.
“I met with the board of directors, the staffing issues continued. … It just gave us time to really pause and assess what makes the most sense, ”Lahman said. “And we decided it would make more sense to transition our school into that space.”
The Therapeutic Academy welcomes children aged 5 to 21 who are in Kindergarten to Grade 12. Children attending the academy are referred by school districts and placed on individualized education plans. Children are often referred to the academy because their homeschooling cannot meet the therapeutic and behavioral needs of the students.
Lahman said it was difficult to serve children with severe behavioral problems during the pandemic. She kept the school open last year to give students a safe space to learn as many of them suffer from neglect.
The school expansion allows them to comply with COVID-19 guidelines while educating students. The school will require masks. Staff will perform door temperature checks, the school will require social distancing in common areas, and each class will have up to five children and a teacher.
The school has increased its enrollment. He also updated the curriculum to include school credit recovery through computer-based lessons, as well as learning work and life skills.
“We started this year by really targeting the skills that we missed last year or didn’t receive enough instruction, so we’re going to stick with that for a while and then continue with the program,” Angela O ‘Brien, HW said the director of the Kia Academy.
She said the campus expansion will also allow Annie Malone to accommodate more children excluded from other classrooms.
“We’re here for these kids because we believe in them, and they deserve a second chance,” O’Brien said. “And without our school, they would be sitting at home, they would be on the street.”
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