Upon arrival at Otter Creek Academy therapeutic services begin during each new resident’s intake. At that time the resident will be assigned a primary counselor who meets the resident, reviews program expectations/guidelines, and begins gathering background information. Combined with information from other professionals involved in the child’s life, their counselor completes a comprehensive psychosocial assessment. If needed, the resident is also referred to a psychiatric nurse practitioner for a psychiatric evaluation.
Within the first 2-3 week of a resident being placed at Otter Creek Academy, an Individual Treatment Plan (ITP) is created which reflects the resident’s treatment goals while in placement. The resident, the resident’s guardian, DCBS/DJJ worker, and various Otter Creek Staff (Counselor, Treatment Director and/or Program Director, Teacher and Line Staff) are all usually involved in developing the treatment plan. Other professionals are invited as deemed necessary.
Multi-disciplinary Treatment Team
Each week a treatment team meeting is held in which the ITP is reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team. This team consists of a variety of Otter Creek staff including the primary counselor, the treatment and/or program director, line staff and others as may be needed. The purpose of these meetings is to provide feedback to see how the resident is progressing, as well as determine whether or not a resident “earned” that week. A resident must earn 32 weeks in order to complete the program. Progress is viewed in terms of academics, behavior and therapy.
Psychiatric Medication Management
Otter Creek Academy residents see a psychiatrist and/or physician’s assistant in order to meet their psychiatric medication needs. Some residents are seen on-site, while others are transported to the psychiatrist’s office. A meeting is held monthly with the psychiatrist or nurse practitioner, along with the Otter Creek Academy nurse, treatment director, and counselors in order to ensure that there is a clear line of communication regarding each resident’s symptoms.
Residents at Otter Creek Academy are required to have at least one hour of structured recreation each day. In addition, there is also time in the weekly schedule for the girls to participate in recreational activities of their own choosing. Some of the activities offered are: basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer, walking, crafts, and various art projects. In the future, we plan to offer an on-site fitness center. These experiences help build a positive self-image and teach students how to fill their free time in positive ways.
The staff at Otter Creek Academy believe that giving back to the community helps create a sense of responsibility, empathy, and maturity. It provides residents with an opportunity to help others and feel like a valued member of society. The goal is that, by incorporating service projects into the program, the overall treatment is expanded, and the residents receive secondary benefits. Some of the service projects we have participated in have been: roadside trash pick-up, donating food items to a domestic violence shelter, crocheting blankets for the local pregnancy help center, donating items to an animal shelter, making Christmas cards for patients in a local nursing home, cleaning up around the shoreline of Lake Cumberland and donating hygiene items to tornado victims.