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KidsPeace has been a TRICARE-certified provider for youth/adolescent residential and psychiatric hospital treatment services at our Orchard Hills Campus in Orefield, PA for more than ten years. During this time KidsPeace has delivered our core mission of Hope, Help and Healing to hundreds of military-connected youth and families through a full Continuum of Care of programs and services. In addition to the residential and psychiatric hospital services offered at the Orchard Hills Campus in Pennsylvania, KidsPeace provides residential services in Maine and Georgia.

For the past several years Healing Magazine has featured “TRICARE Success Stories,” highlighting the treatment commitment of youth and families and the determination of our clinical and care professionals to ignite hope, offer help and begin the healing process. In a 2018 article, a KidsPeace Clinical Manager posed the question, “What determines the likelihood of long-term success?” Her response shines light to what is truly needed in providing a pathway for treatment success in working with youth and families:

Instead of supplying strategies and interventions that will act as a Band-Aid to the wounded and fragmented individuals and relationships, how can we instead help them to truly heal? By definition, to “heal” means to alleviate, to cause (someone, something) to become sound and/or healthy again. When we treat to heal, we significantly improve the chances of long-term success.” 

The article detailed the treatment journey of a female youth and her family, culminating in a successful transition home as an “intact family with a deeper bond,” better prepared to take on life’s challenges.

Expanded Opportunities to Heal, from PA to GA

Successful treatment outcomes for military-involved youth and families have resulted in expanding available TRICARE-certified residential services. In September 2020, the Orchard Hills Campus became TRICARE-certified in all nine of our residential treatment programs.  The expansion opened treatment opportunities for TRICARE-funded youth in our T.R.E.E. (Trauma, Resiliency, Empowerment and Elevation program, females ages 10-18 and males ages 7-18), A.S.P.I.R.E. (Adolescent Sexual Preoccupation, Intervention, Responsibility and Education program, males ages 13-18), KidsHope (MH/ID 50-70 FSIQ, males ages 12-18), as well as our two original TRICARE residences (males/females ages 13-18).

In the summer of 2021, KidsPeace’s Bowdon (GA) Residential Campus obtained TRICARE certification and KEPRO approval to serve military-involved youth and families. The 80-bed KidsPeace Georgia facility, located about an hour west of Atlanta, offers residential care and treatment services to youth from 12-17 years old. KidsPeace Georgia serves 20 females and 40 males who present with a range of mental health, substance abuse and behavioral issues. In addition, the Bowdon Campus has a 20-bed free-standing facility and self-contained program for males with sexual issues. 

To meet the education needs of its residents, KidsPeace School of Georgia is a licensed non-public school that works in partnership with the Carroll County School System and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). 

In 2021 the Bowdon Campus received the “Gold Seal of Approval” from the Joint Commission – a designation considered the gold standard of safety and quality assurance in healthcare.   The campus has been accredited by the Joint Commission since 2009.

In discussing the impact of the TRICARE certification, KidsPeace Georgia Executive Director Louis Shagawat shared, “We are privileged to be approved to serve TRICARE youth and families. This will allow us to reach a very deserving group of youth and families who are in need of our services. Military-involved youth and families sacrifice a great deal and endure many stressors that can take a toll on one’s well-being. It is an honor to support youth and families who have given to our nation.”

TRICARE Residential Treatment Needed Now More Than Ever

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the mental health of America’s youth, our ability to serve the TRICARE-funded population has never been more critical. As KidsPeace CEO Michael Slack recently stated: “Studies and news reports paint a consistently alarming picture of the state of our kids’ mental health in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are experiencing greater stress and anxiety, at the same time that many are separated from their traditional support networks of friends, classmates, teachers and counselors, and extended family members.” 

Orchard Hills saw an increase of military-involved youth in 2021, resulting in more TRICARE-funded youth than at any time since we were certified. Expanded TRICARE capacity at both the Orchard Hills Campus and the Bowdon Campus affords KidsPeace the opportunity to meet the growing mental health needs of military-involved youth and families. 

“Being challenged in life is inevitable. Being defeated is optional.”

(Military family saying)

Mental health issues and unresolved trauma are significant stressors leading to daily challenges which, at times, may seem insurmountable. Our TRICARE-certified residential programs at the Orchard Hills Campus and the Bowdon Campus stand at the ready to engage with youth and families in delivering evidence-based treatment and care, transforming the seemingly insurmountable into a brighter future for military-involved families –  made possible through Hope, Help and Healing at KidsPeace.

Chris Sylvester

Chris Sylvester joined KidsPeace in 1992 as a direct care worker at the Graham Lake Campus in Ellsworth, Maine, advancing to take on a variety of roles and responsibilities. In 2014, Chris became National Customer Relations Liaison for KidsPeace covering the Northeast Territory, which includes all of New England and New York, to ensure customers are aware of the KidsPeace Continuum of Care and the treatment services offered for youth and families.