After residents are accepted and evaluated, placement team members (the resident, parents, and professionals) work together to complete screening, develop a treatment plan to address the individual needs of each resident, and establish goals of placement. Mapletree does psycho-social and vocational testing/assessments to help identify strengths and areas for growth. Goals of placement are reviewed at least quarterly in formal staffings with the placement team.
Mapletree staff maintain a “therapeutic milieu” in which issues are addressed as they come up. The residents receive a daily flow of feedback to improve social skills, problem solving, and conflict resolution. Each resident participates in weekly reviews with the staff to discuss progress on both short-term and long-term placement goals. Every Sunday evening, the kids participate in a discussion group to strengthen social awareness and social skills. On Thursday evenings the boys participate in traditional group therapy under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional. Topics around sexuality and chemical abuse are also addressed in weekly groups. Some residents attend family therapy outside of Mapletree or participate in programs to address specific issues (e.g. sexuality, anger, gangs, chemical abuse, etc.).
The boys are supervised throughout the day, with staff on duty 24-7. There are many opportunities for one-to-one time and the ability to confront and discuss issues as they arise. Some of the boys attend AA meetings weekly, more or less as they need support for sobriety. Helping kids to discover hobbies, sports, and positive leisure time activities is an important part of adolescent development. We encourage social growth through recreational opportunities, and exposure to new experiences. Toward those goals, Mapletree maintains a year-around wilderness retreat center on the Kettle River near Moose Lake. Every summer we make an annual trek to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
The Mapletree staff are active role models, and in the past have taken the boys on many adventures including skiing, tubing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, camping, snowmobiling, white-water rafting, flying, scuba diving, and horseback riding, to name a few. To encourage athletic participation, Mapletree maintains a membership at the Maplewood Community Center. Nearby community resources include a regional shopping center, tennis courts, soccer fields, parks, a county library, and a variety of health care facilities.
Many of the boys at Mapletree have struggled with academic or behavioral success at school. Mapletree makes an extra effort to instill an appreciation for learning. An annual event at Mapletree is a ten-day camping/road trip to Gettysburg and Washington D.C. to provide an experiential opportunity to learn about geography, the Civil War, American history, civics and government.
All of the kids at Mapletree are expected to participate in an educational program. Some attend high school at North High School in North St. Paul, while others attend nearby ALC programs, adult education, GED preparatory programs, or perhaps even Century College in nearby White Bear Lake. North High School has an excellent special education department and guidance staff that has been very supportive of the special education needs of our boys. The Mapletree staff works closely with each resident to help them succeed in their educational goals.
With all the boys at Mapletree rapidly approaching adulthood, ILS is a daily focus at Mapletree. The boys are expected to get themselves up in the morning, prepare their own breakfast and lunch (supper is family style), do their own laundry, keep their rooms clean, participate in yard care, and generally keep the house clean. On Tuesday evenings the boys participate in an ILS group with a broad range of topics including budgeting, checking account management, finding apartments, understanding leases, setting up utilities, living with roommates, grocery shopping, buying a car, sewing, doing taxes, maintaining a job, obtaining health care, understanding insurance, and many more. Some Mapletree graduates have access to a small two-bedroom apartment adjacent to the group home that can facilitate the transition to independent living.
Mapletree encourages employment, supports the development of job skills, and supervises money management. Most residents find employment near the Maplewood Mall and work 10-15 hours per week, while going to school. During the summer or for those that are working on a GED or ALC program, the boys are usually able to maintain full time employment. Residents that have court-ordered restitution are usually able to completely pay-off restitution and community service obligations during their placement. The boys are required to save most of their earnings, toward moving out on their own. It is not unusual for residents to graduate from Mapletree with more than $2,000 to start independent living.