Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I thought you would find it interesting to know where we got the name from (the program described in yesterday's post).

It came from may background in working with the Juvenile Sex Offenders. I worked at a lock down residential treatment facility. That meant, every child in our program was the worst of the worst, and were court ordered to be under such care (completely isolated from the real world, and in lock down) under they either successfully completed their treatment, or they reached the age of 18. The later being the reason of discharge more often.

The youths had two treatment plans:

1. Therapeutic
2. Behavioral

Upon successful completion of both programs the youth would be moved to a STEP DOWN treatment center. The difference is:

Going from one institution of extreme (24 hour) structure, care, caution, restriction and supervision to a group home.

A group home was a house where by youths of all kinds of behavioral and or substance abuse, misconduct etc are housed together. The youths attend regular high school and go home to a group home at the end of the day.

I never considered this effective. In fact, it was then that most of our youths re offended. They were never prepared for this kind of freedom, and it is in this poorly structured environment that the youths did awful in.

I could go on and on about how I felt about this, and the changes I would implement.

But, that is where I got the term "STEP DOWN" from. In order for successful adoptions or foster care, one must take into consideration the lifestyle the dog is most familiar with (despite our belief and emotional feelings of how wrong it was)... and then allow the dog to step down from there into real life in a realistic, achievable manner.

A Step down program should allow for the animal to cope and adapt to what we consider a normal life, keeping in mind the life we want to provide for them is far from normal compared to what they have experienced and lived.

Hope that makes sense.

Dog Responsibly.

No comments: