Childhelp Alice C. Tyler Village

Across 270 acres of naturally lush, inviting land, the Childhelp Alice C. Tyler Village in Lignum, Virginia, has provided a healing home environment for abused, neglected and at-risk children since 1993. In a community atmosphere, the Village houses as many as 67 children from 5 to 14 years of age. Clients are referred by schools, parents, nearby judicial authorities and child welfare offices, often arriving with severe emotional and behavioral problems as a result of abusive or neglectful situations. Our team of mental health professionals greet each child upon arrival, equipped to develop an individualized treatment plan tailored to the child’s individual needs. While at the village, children receive on-site clinical services provided by Childhelp’s multi-disciplinary team under the direction of a staff psychiatrist. The children learn to love themselves and trust others through comprehensive treatment, including:

  • Clinical therapy
  • Short Term Residential – 60 and 90 day treatment programs
  • Speech Therapy
  • Educational therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Recreational therapy
  • Occupational therapy

Progress leads a child on a new and healthier journey. While it is always sad to see a child leave, each staff member strives to see each child discharged to a less restrictive, positive placement.

The Village Academy of Childhelp

The Village Academy of Childhelp at the Childhelp Alice C. Tyler Village is a non-public school that serves children requiring a therapeutic environment as part of their elementary special education licensed or secondary education. The Village Academy enrolls students with needs that cannot be accommodated in a public school by providing high quality supervision, structure and intervention to ensure academic success for every student in the least restrictive environment.

Click here to learn more about the Village Academy of Childhelp.

Current Status

The Village’s partners include the Virginia Association of Independent Special Education Facilities and the Virginia Coalition of Private Provider Association. The Village is a Virginia and West Virginia Medicaid provider, and is accredited with the Joint Commission as a behavioral health care provider. Residents of the Village have access to enrichment programs such as:

  • Ranch and animal care
  • Reading buddies
  • Recreation/outdoor activities
  • Special friend program
  • Chapel services

The Village has one of only four licensed residential and day-school special education programs open to children in the community . Childhelp provides a staff to child ratio of 1:3 during daytime hours and a therapist to child ratio of 1:8. Childhelp employs a full-time recreational therapist, a music therapist, an animal therapy specialist, and offers speech and occupational therapy to residents. Childhelp provides specialized clinical services for children who have suffered severe abuse, employing a full-time child psychiatrist, 24-hour medical nursing care, and a full-time staff psychologist. Individualized treatment plans and an in-patient sensory integration program are given to all children with developmental needs.

What We Offer

  • Specialized Services: 24 hour child psychiatrist coverage, 24 hour nursing care, registered dietitian, occupational therapy/speech therapy, horticulture assisted services, and social skills development.
  • Assessment: Psychiatric evaluation, physical examination, educational assessment, recreational assessment, nutritional assessment, psychological and neuropsychological testing.
  • Psychiatry/Medical: On-site board certified psychiatrist and 24-hour nursing care.
  • Therapy: Individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, art therapy, daily milieu therapy, experiential therapy techniques, trauma focused therapy and intervention supported by attachment research, evidenced-based treatment interventions, equine assisted therapy, music therapy and animal assisted therapy.
  • Therapeutic Recreation Activities: Hiking trails, biking, swimming pools, gymnasium, equestrian programs, fishing ponds and streams, meditation techniques, ropes course, gardening program, go carts, and more!
  • Education: Licensed private residential school for students with disabilities serving grades k-8, private day school, and member of VAISEF.  The Village uses a multi-modal approach using individualized instruction, small teacher to student ratio with direct instruction and progress monitoring.
  • Interdisciplinary Treatment Team: Board certified child psychiatrist, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, nurse practitioner, licensed or license-eligible therapists, art therapist, special education certified teachers, occupational therapy, speech language therapist, recreation staff, registered dietitian, and on-site staff.
  • Short-Term Residential Treatment: Children undergo a vigorous program in a more condensed time period. Short-term stays are geared towards individual treatment plans in preparation of returning home typically between 60 and 90 days.


Key Staff

  • Chris Ruble, Program Executive Director
  • Debbie Mack, M.D., Psychiatrist/MD
  • Barbara Gaddy, MA LPC ACS CSAC CSOTP RPT-S, Director of Clinical Services
  • Brooks Haas, Director, Residential Services
  • Amanda Clark, Director of Business Development
  • Kelley Hackley, MSW, Director, Admissions
  • Nancy Lynn, R.D., Director, Support Services/ Quality Assurance
  • Susan Zwilling, RN, Director of Nursing
  • Dr. Tammy Hall, Director of Education
  • Wade Hardman, Director, Volunteer & Community Services
  • Christina Perkins, Human Resource Director
  • Jeff Hines, Physical Plant Manager
  • David Henry, Chaplain
  • Kimberly MacPherson, Privacy Officer

License & Accreditations

  • Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services
  • Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Education
  • The Joint Commission


Program Statistics, Fiscal Year 2017

  • 98% youth increased social functioning skills including emotional regulation, cognitive flexibility, daily functioning and reduction of risk behaviors
  • 87% youth successfully completed our program were released to a less restrictive setting
  • Two-thirds of those released were returned home to a relative or an adoptive home

Downloadable Resources

If you would like to complete an admission application for your child, please fill out the PDF below and complete in entirety before submitting via email to


Chris Ruble, Program Executive Director-

Childhelp Alice C. Tyler Village
23164 Dragoon Road
Lignum, VA 22726
T 540-399-1926
F 540-399-1052

For General Questions and Inquiries, please fill out the contact form below.