EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — KidsPeace is combining education and therapy in a new day treatment program for special education students who previously had to travel great distances to receive services.
KidsPeace has collaborated with East Millinocket School District to lease a wing of Schenck High School to begin providing a day program like what is offered on the organization’s Graham Lake Campus in Ellsworth. The program will bring jobs to the school district, which has seen declining enrollment, while also meeting a need for public school students who need a more intensive educational setting.
The program can accommodate up to 20 students in grades one through 12, who will be referred from area public schools. Many of these children previously spent more than an hour each way on buses to get to appropriate educational and therapeutic programs. In addition to individualized education, the children — who have autism or other social, emotional or behavioral disorders — will receive services that include social skills training, occupational and speech therapy and individual or family therapy.
Renovations are being wrapped up on the educational space, and hiring will begin in the next couple of weeks. Denise Hamlin, director of education for KidsPeace New England, said the expansion of services allows KidsPeace to expand its footprint to help families.
“It allows families who might otherwise have had to put their children in a residential setting, to now rely on day treatment,” she said, in a press release.
In addition to the day treatment program, KidsPeace’s Foster Care and Community Programs office in Bangor will begin offering similar wraparound services — including community-based behavioral health, clinical services and targeted case management — to children in need. This will allow children to have a more seamless transition from school to community services.