and education for at-risk children and families, will commemorate the
opening of its new specialized psychiatric residential facility from 4
to 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 24. Thompson supporters, community
partners and staff will gather for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony
followed by a reception and tours of the 15,000-square-foot complex at
the agency's residential campus at 6800 Saint Peter's Lane.
The highly specialized facility will provide clinical and behavioral
therapy for youth who exhibit problematic sexual behaviors stemming
from sexual abuse or extreme and repeated exposure to inappropriate
sexual experiences. Recognizing a gap in services for this
population, Thompson launched a successful $10 million capital
campaign in 2007, earmarking $3.6 million for the construction and
operation of the facility. Situated on Thompson's Saint Peter's Lane
Upper Campus, the center is one of only a few facilities in North
Carolina specializing in the treatment and healing of sexually
With capacity for up to 24 children, ages five to 13, two of the four
six-bedroom wings will open in August to accommodate 12 boys. The two
remaining wings will be designated for occupancy according to needs.
Children entering this program require an intense level of
intervention and therapy for a range of behaviors including sexual
aggression and sexually reactive behaviors towards others, self-
injurious behaviors, poor boundaries with peers and adults, extreme
impulsivity, and difficulties with anger management.
Without intervention and treatment, these children are at-risk for
becoming juvenile offenders and/or perpetuating the cycle of abuse
that has scarred their childhoods. Referrals for placement in the
program are already coming from departments of social services,
juvenile justice and mental health, along with hospitals and private
The center's design – a warm, home-like atmosphere – provides a safe
and secure haven for healing and recovery that reflects the vision and
experience of Thompson staff. The complex is structured differently
from the stand-alone residential cottages on the Lower Campus, with
all four wings connected for a higher degree of security. Large open
spaces and interior windows allow staff to stand in virtually any spot
of the living, dining, kitchen and office areas, providing a line of
visual supervision at all times. And, individual bedrooms and
bathrooms are equipped with "break-away" door hooks and shower rods to
prevent self-inflicted injuries.
The roomy living area encourages shared activities, with computer
learning alcoves, play and reading nooks, and a family dining space.
All furnishings have been chosen especially with the children in mind,
providing comfy gathering spots and ample personal space. The new
complex was built by Rodgers Builders and designed by the
architectural firm, Fryday & Doyne.
With staffing that exceeds requirements – three staff for six children
– Thompson is able to provide children with extensive individual
therapy and emotional support. The primary behavioral therapy model
utilized by staff is a modified version of Dialectical Behavior
Therapy, which includes skill-building around self-regulation, impulse
control, and mindfulness. Other treatment modalities will include
play therapy, art therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral
therapy, and other Expressive Arts components. Clients are educated
about how to create healthy, appropriate relationships and
boundaries. Additionally, they must also address individual sexual
abuse histories through individual counseling sessions. The average
length-of-stay is expected to be one year. Like all Thompson
programs, the treatment program embraces the family by providing
training skills, behavior modeling and emotional support.
The new program expands Thompson's psychiatric residential program on
the Saint Peter's Lane campus, where the Lower Campus residential
treatment facility already serves up to 24 boys and girls, ages six to
12, at any one time. These children receive treatment and support
that helps them heal from attachment disorders and mental illnesses
stemming from early traumas that include abuse, neglect and exposure
to domestic violence. Psychiatric Residential Treatment is one of
several types of mental health interventions/programs included in
Thompson's continuum of services.
About Heroic Measures Capital Campaign
The successful $10 million Heroic Measures capital campaign was
launched in 2007 to advance the increasingly urgent mission and work
of Thompson Child & Family Focus. Heroic Measures was chaired by:
Steele Alphin, former chief administrative officer, Bank of America;
David Dooley, vice chairman, RT Dooley; John Fennebresque, partner,
McGuire Woods; and General John Handy, retired executive vice
president, Horizon Lines, Inc.
Each of the wings in the new Upper Campus complex is named in honor of
supportive community leaders who responded to Thompson's critical need
for the development of additional facilities and programs to better
serve children and families in a specialized setting. The wings are
named as follows:
• The Yorke Cottage – named for the late John Yorke, longtime
Thompson supporter and fellow trustee; made possible by gifts from
Thompson board of trustee members and colleagues.
• The Alphin Cottage – named for Thompson trustee and former Bank of
America executive Steele Alphin; made possible by gifts from friends
and business associates.
• The Merancas Cottage – donated by anonymous partners and supporters
Naming opportunities are still available for the fourth cottage,
currently called Peace Cottage.
About Thompson Child and Family Focus
The Episcopal Church founded Thompson Child & Family Focus as an
orphanage in 1886. Thompson has evolved into a leading provider of
effective clinical and behavioral treatment, developmental education,
and proactive care for at-risk children and families. All programs are
Thompson operates three campuses in the Charlotte region:
• The Saint Peter's Lane Campus in Matthews houses Thompson's two
psychiatric residential treatment centers for children with serious
mental illnesses stemming from horrific early childhood traumas, most
often involving domestic violence, sexual abuse and/or long-term
neglect. The Upper Campus center specializes in the treatment of
sexually reactive youth, while the Lower Campus center focuses on
treating children diagnosed with attachment disorders and related
mental-health issues. The Lower Campus also houses The School at
Thompson for residential children, and the main administration offices.
• The Clanton Road Campus in West Charlotte houses the Thompson Child
Development Center, which provides developmental and preventive
programming for young children (infant to age 5) and their families,
through diverse educational and therapeutic resources. This campus
also includes the Early Childhood Services Department, which provides
support and mentor relationships for other early childhood programs
across Mecklenburg, Union, and Cabarrus counties.
• The East 7th Street Campus near uptown Charlotte houses an array of
mental health community services including outpatient counseling,
foster care services, school-based intervention therapy, intensive in-
home services, and family education. These services are designed to
"wrap around" children and families, providing an accessible,
effective menu of services that support individual needs and healing.
For more information about Thompson, please visit www.thompsoncff.org.