Reclaiming “Unsalvageable” Kids

William Perry & Larry K. Brendtro This story began at Starr Commonwealth, a residential school for troubled youth in Michigan. Larry Brendtro was successor to school’s founder Floyd Starr who was first to express the well-known motto, “There is no such thing as a bad boy.” It was there that Brendtro would meet Bill Perry—co-author[…]

Slamming Doors: The Power of Safety

  by Mark Freado Fourteen-year-old Angelique sat in the dining room of her group home explaining to her favorite staff member, Ms. G, the fight that happened at school that day. This incident resulted in Angelique’s one-day suspension from school to be imposed the following day, and she was not allowed to attend the group[…]

What Our Children Need

David R. Cross, Ph.D. One of the campers who attended our summer camp, The Hope Connection, in the early 2000s was a lovely thirteen-year-old who had been adopted from an institution in Eastern Europe. She had been a sexual pet for the workers there and bore the deep emotional scars of chronic maltreatment. During the[…]

Chicken Alfredo and Other Ingredients for an Effective Service Plan

Thirteen-year-old Jimmy is a small, intelligent, and emotionally immature student in an alternative school program. He was the reason that I was asked to provide consultation to the staff and administrators in the school. With his constant verbal disruptions, threats to other students, and physical acting out, there were concerns that he may not be[…]

The Taboo on Touch

Research Jottings by Larry K. Brendtro, PhD We have become strangers to each other, not only avoiding but even warding off all forms of “unnecessary” physical contact, faceless figures in a crowded landscape, lonely and afraid of intimacy.[1] —Ashley Montagu As a teenager, Jabari risked his life, unaccompanied, to escape war-torn Africa to the United[…]

From An Old West Town to a Therapeutic Community

Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch – A Work in Progress Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch began in a courthouse in the old West town of Tascosa. Beginnings, in most things, have a significant impact on journeys. The same holds for a boys’ ranch founded among the backdrop of cattle thieves and gunslingers. Our history has carried with[…]