The agency utilizes full-time, live-in house parents in several separate residential units (or group homes) to care for the teens that come to live at Shults-Lewis. These couples totally immerse themselves in the residents’ lives. The Shults-Lewis house parents receive ongoing training and supervision so that they can give the young people a highly structured environment. Every day, the children are taught independent living skills, respect for others, and are equipped with the emotional and social skills they need to function in society as well-balanced individuals.
The house parents work closely with a treatment plan individualized for each teen that is framed in a behavior modification program utilizing a level system. In the level system, residents are graded each day on a wide range of behavioral and performance goals, which result in appropriate privileges, consequences, restrictions and freedoms. The goal is not just to change their behavior, but to change the attitudes, that influence their behavior. The program seeks to address problems at their source, by changing hearts and minds.
One of the primary roles of the house parents is to mentor the teens they live with. As role models to these young adults, their goal is to live and act in such a way that children see a non-smoking, non-drinking husband and wife team grounded in Christian principles and values.
Shults-Lewis provides a variety of educational and recreational opportunities for the residents such as trips to the Indiana Dunes, Chicago Museums, movies and tours of area businesses. Some of these opportunities are earned through the point and level system; others are available to all residents.
There are other events throughout the year that are eagerly anticipated by all. These events include the Strengths Banquet, Carnival and the Annual Day Celebration.
Our House parents decorate their residential living areas with their own personal touch. The result is a loving, comfortable home where the residents can feel welcome and secure. Many residents enjoy baking cookies and cakes with their house parents, playing board games, going to church together and going out to eat.
The house parents embrace their jobs because, as Christians, they feel called to serve young people. Their desire is to make a positive difference in the lives of teens and their families by doing many small things with great love.
For more information on residential services, contact Jon O’Keefe, LMFT Program Director, at (219) 462-0513, or e-mail us.