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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Ottilie Residential Treatment Facility

The Ottilie Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) is located on six acres in the heart of Queens. It is the only OMH residential facility that exclusively serves adolescents and young adults with a serious emotional disturbance as well as developmental delays. The 24-hour facility provides the most intensive residential mental health services available outside of a hospital. The Ottilie RTF offers a highly structured, therapeutic setting that focuses on strengthening family connections, providing a trauma sensitive approach to treatment and preparing the youth to return to their communities. Residents attend the Theresa Paplin School, an ungraded, non-diploma bound New York State special education school. View our Ottilie/Theresa Paplin School brochure.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Youth with SED needing a highly structured residential setting with all services on site.

Age Criteria

10 -21 years of age

How to Access this Program or Service

Referrals go through the Pre-Admission Certification Committee (PACC)

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

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

Rachel’s Story

Westbrook Preparatory School

“Attending Westbrook was the first time I felt comfortable with other kids.” Learn More

We shelter

4,600

youth, adults and children

4 out of 5

young adults (21+) at our Residential Treatment Center for youth with developmental disabilities participate in Day Habilitation or are enrolled in school

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