Jasmine’s Story

I entered foster care at 16 years old and was placed in the home of “Aunt” Nessa, as I liked to call her. Few people knew of my situation; it was our little secret. I was embarrassed by the family dysfunction that led me to this strange place in my life, and with the support of my SCO caseworkers, I realized that education was my way out.

My goal was to attend Spelman College. I faced some naysayers; guidance counselors who said it was too expensive, others who felt I would never get in. But my SCO caseworkers and staff supported my decision. They stayed on top of me, making sure I filled out every document and scholarship. It was the staff’s unwavering support and positive reinforcement that sustained me.

I was accepted to Spelman with scholarships from several organizations as well as financial support from SCO’s education and permanency program, which helped me afford my housing.

But that was just the start of my journey. During summer break, I earned an internship volunteering with foster youth and their families through AmeriCorps that changed my life. I didn’t want any special treatment, so no one at my job was aware of my status as a foster youth. But as I worked in the family visiting room, much like a fly on the wall, I watched young people about my age visiting with the children they had lost custody of, some pregnant again. I saw a vicious cycle happening before my eyes.

It was that summer I realized that as a woman of color, as a foster youth, and as a human being who just cares, it would be a disservice if I didn’t take advantage of my unique pairing of lived experiences and desire to affect change.

Today, I am at Teachers College Columbia University earning my Masters in Clinical Psychology on a full scholarship, so that I, too, can be a source of support for youth in need.

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Madonna Heights Residential Treatment Facility

The Madonna Heights Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) is a trauma-informed therapeutic program that provides the most intensive residential mental health services available outside of a hospital setting. The RTF Program helps youth strengthen connections with family, while improving outcomes through a youth-guided, family-driven and trauma-sensitive approach to treatment. The 24-hour facility offers a wide range of therapeutic services as well as comprehensive mental health, medical, recreational and independent living supports. Intensive treatment plans direct the individualized treatment of each youth. The RTF’s trauma-responsive treatment environment promotes safety, sensitivity and healing where clients can feel secure enough to address unresolved trauma while learning to maintain emotional regulation and employ self-care strategies.

The youth in residence attend the Madonna Heights School, a fully accredited New York State Regents junior/senior high school located on the same campus as the RTF that provides a therapeutic educational environment for adolescent girls who are struggling in their home, school or community.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Adolescent girls with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) with trauma histories ages 13-17.11 upon intake with DSM-V diagnosis that requires residential psychiatric care and treatment under the direction of a psychiatrist

Age Criteria or Other Eligibility Requirements

12-17.11 years of age, FSIQ > 70, OMH Pre-Admission Certification Committee (PACC) certified, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V) diagnosis; Special Education Classification

How to Access this Program or Service

Referrals are accepted from Children’s SPOA Committee (Nassau/Suffolk/ NYC); NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) Long Island/ NYC Field Office or NYS OMH PACC Committee

SCO Family of Services Price Transparency

As part of SCO’s ongoing commitment to integrity, and to be transparent, we are providing you with information about our payment rate for services provided at the Ottilie and Madonna Heights RTFs.  The RTF receives a daily rate that includes the program’s operating costs and services provided to the residents as needed.  The link below contains a list of available services.

SCO RTF Price Transparency Data

This program is associated with...

Madonna Heights

Providing an environment that teaches, strengthens and encourages young and adult women to heal from trauma. Read More

Success Stories

Jasmine’s Story

From Foster Care to Advocate

Today, I am at Teachers College Columbia University earning my Masters in Clinical Psychology on a full scholarship, so that I, too, can be a source of support for youth in need. Learn More

Marissa

Bronx Arena High School

"She made me feel good about myself." Learn More

Last year, we placed

1,470

youth in employment, subsidized employment or internships

We help

1,700

children get ready for kindergarten

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