Cal Farley’s is a one of a kind service. It is one of America’s largest privately-funded child and family service providers, specializing in both residential and community-based services at no cost to the families of children in their care.
Cal Farley’s operates like a small town – hosting a chapel, fire station, its own bank, post office and independent school district, activity centre etc. Many of the staff live on site, and at capacity, Cal’s can have up to 260 children and young people at a time. Residential homes are staffed by 2 sets of house-parents, the lead house-parents and relief house-parents.
Neurodevelopmentally informed interventions/activities include:
- Individual Therapy
- Play Therapy
- Art Therapy
- AAT – largely equine based including colt and filly training and Rhythmic Riding
- Adventure Therapies – Ropes Courses, Kayaking, Trail Rides, Challenge course
- Computer Lab
- Robot and other electronics programs
- Rodeo skills
- Agriculture workshop
- Mentoring of younger children by older children
- Capacity for vocational training and part time employment
All this is embedded in a community where relationships serve as the key to success. I had to remind myself that this was a service for children and young people who had mental health, emotional and behavioural problems, because often what I saw seemed just like any ordinary community. The importance of relationships whereby the kids were positively supported, contained and nurtured by multiple adults in their daily experiences was evident in the way the children and young people conducted themselves in the community. I’m not saying that there were no challenges, but on the whole the adults in this community do a wonderful job of creating a relationally rich environment filled with amazing activities, “interventions” and opportunities.
If you work in the child and welfare sector and ever find yourself in Amarillo Texas – look Cal Farley’s up and see if you can visit – it’s nothing short of impressive and it’s folk are just downright good people who are absolutely and only in this for the best outcomes for kids.
Edited version of a post written by: Michelle (Chelle) Taylor, Clinical Psychologist and NMT Consultant, Take Two Program