Childhelp Merv Griffin Village
The sun shines brightly on this place called home by some of “The Golden State’s” children. Spread across 121-acres of beautiful scenery, the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village (the Village) has been dedicated to the 24-hour-a-day treatment of severely abused, neglected, and at-risk children since 1978. Committed to creating a genuine community environment, the Village houses as many as 84 children ranging in age from 6 to 15 years old.
Sadly, in 2011, there were more than 86,000 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in California. It is these children who may become residents. The children who make their home here are referred to this solution-focused facility by various judicial authorities and child welfare offices. The children arrive exhibiting severe emotional and behavioral problems as a result of their abusive or neglectful situations. For many of these children, the Village and its multidisciplinary team (MDT) are their last hope in avoiding placement at a juvenile correctional facility.
The Village is a place where these children, regardless of where they came from or why they are there, can become a part of positive people, experiences and feelings. Each child arriving at the Village is greeted by a team of mental health professionals who are trained and able to assess their needs and develop an individualized treatment plan. The treatment plan incorporates activities and services that allow the children an opportunity to grow, heal and develop including:
The skilled and compassionate staff of therapists, teachers, behavioral health specialists, nurses, physicians, case managers and chaplain work to develop the whole child restoring mind, body and spirit.
The goal is to see a child discharged to a less restrictive, positive placement such as being reunited with his or her family, adopted, or placed with a relative or foster family, or relocated to a less intensive treatment facility.
The Village responds to the overwhelming needs of abused and at-risk children with four critical community partners including neighboring school districts, various County placement partners and the Southern California County Departments of Public Social Services. Through this amazing collaboration, children are provided with quality, comprehensive services.
The Childhelp Non-Public School (NPS) caters to children who require a therapeutic environment as a component of their elementary or secondary education. The NPS serves students with extreme emotional disturbances that cannot be accommodated in a public school. The NPS provides high quality supervision, structure and individual programming designed to transition the child to a functional level in society.
- The Art Therapy Program is operated by a certified art therapist and provides children with an opportunity for non-verbal communication.
- The Ranch Program provides therapeutic opportunities for children healing from severe abuse through animal care, equine assisted therapy, resident jobs and special events.
- The village has an on-site accredited non-public school for children with special needs. The school serves children with a variety of special education designations.
- Recreation and wilderness activities like sports and field trips give children different outlets for their emotions and energy.
- Literacy and Computer Lab Program.
- Voluntary non-denominational chapel services for those who wish to participate.
- The Village Special Friends Program matches children with screened volunteers who provide support, mentoring, interaction and lifelong friendships after the children leave the village.
- Provide educational services in the non-public school for special education children and others referred from public school districts.
- Childhelp has a full-time, on-site chaplain who is available to both residents and staff. This Chaplain is also a member of the Quality Assurance Committee ensuring that the facility provides a safe environment for the children.
- The Wilderness Program, the newest program in the Village is a therapeutic experience that helps develop areas of leadership, interdependence, awareness and personal accountability.
- Ranch Therapy is an emerging field where horses, ponies, mini-ponies, donkeys, llamas, goats, dogs, rabbits and cats are used as part of the therapeutic process, providing for emotional growth, learning and healing.