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Group Homes

A six-bed group home, Solita, provides community-based treatment for children ages 12 to 18 until reunification with families or relatives, foster care or adoption is feasible. Youth live in a safe, comfortable and supportive home in neighborhoods, attend local schools and participate in community activities.

The Group Home Program was established in 1972 and provides a home-like environment for youth who may have initially been placed in the system due to abuse or neglect. Because of challenging behaviors these youth require a structured and therapeutically based setting. Our primary goal is to provide the therapeutic milieu and mental health services to assist these youth in learning how to develop relationships, appropriate ways to manage and express feelings and to function adaptively within a family setting.

Five Acres' group home is designed to offer a positive small group living environment for them as they prepare for transition to a lower level of care such as with a foster family or reunification with their own family. Whenever possible effort is made to keep siblings together. Although we provide our youth with a home-like environment and may become like a second family, we believe that they should reconnect, develop, maintain and foster positive relationships with permanent persons outside of Five Acres in order to create a lifetime support system. A permanent person may be any adult other than staff whom the youth identifies as being significant to them. This may include family members, a teacher, coach, tutor or special friend. Thus, our second goal is to reconnect the youth to past significant relationships, to assist them in developing new positive relationships and to support the networks to maintain these important relationships in the youths' lives so that they will have a stable source of support, especially when they are ready to move on to a lower level of care after our program. If it for any reason it is not possible to transition a youth to a lower level, the group home program also prepares youth for emancipation at age 18 or when secondary schooling is completed. Five Acres youth may be assisted to help them transition successfully from high school to college or vocational training and full independence.

Each of the youth’s experiences is considered as a possible framework for socialization and is designed to meet the needs of the youth both as individuals and as a group. The plan is to meet developmental needs and to provide a predictable, secure living situation with reasonable order and structure. Our services provide each youth with an opportunity to develop skills for coping, networking, problem solving, independent living, social competence and emancipation.


Marianne Guilfoyle, LCSW
Director for Permanency Programs
email: mguilfoyle@5acres.org

Someone to Care

15-year-old Jill grew up in the foster care system. At the age of seven, Jill was taken away from her foster family due to their illness and returned to the system. When she first came to Five Acres’ group home, Jill had severe mood swings, impulsive behaviors and depression that hindered her daily functioning in school and at home. A typical day consisted of Jill’s having difficulty waking up after being in bed 10 hours with insomnia during the night because of her anxiety. Jill's thoughts were dominated by ideas of death, paranoia, and fears of becoming ill. She consequently missed school frequently, began failing classes, and was held back one grade level. Jill's need for constant attention due to low self-esteem, struggling with her weight, and just going through the adolescence phase exacerbated her anxiety and fears of life.

Five Acres staff has found appropriate medications and behavioral interventions to assist Jill with her impulsivity, mood swings and depression. Jill has dramatically improved and is attending school daily and passing her classes. Jill has also secured a job and is managing her own money. She plans to pursue vocational skills in cosmetology and has developed healthy adult relationships outside the group home. She has also connected with several "permanent persons" who provide her with consistency and stability and promise to be life-long relationships.