The Children’s Center of Hamden Reviews, Cost, Complaints
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The Children’s Center of Hamden


The Children’s Center of HamdenThe Children’s Center of Hamden Review

Established in 1833 as the New Haven Orphan Asylum, the Children’s Center of Hamden provides residential and outpatient treatment for financially challenged young people, between the ages of 12 and 17, who suffer from chemical dependency, mental health issues and other behavioral challenges. The Children’s Center sits on 10 landscaped acres in Hamden, a suburb of New Haven, Connecticut.

The rehab bills itself as one of the first childcare agencies to house clients in small cottages, rather than in gloomy residence halls. New Choices, the rehab’s inpatient program, provides substance abuse and addiction treatment for teenage boys who are referred for care by the juvenile justice system, probation officers or the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. The rehab’s Wakeman Hall Substance Abuse Treatment unit offers coed outpatient, Intensive Outpatient (IOP) and aftercare for adolescents.

Accommodations and Food

New Choices has a 12-bed capacity. Clients stay in rooms that are comfortably furnished with twin or bunk beds, dressers and lamps. Food is served cafeteria-style. While the diet meets nutritional guidelines and includes fresh fruits and veggies, youthful favorites such as pizza and mac and cheese are included in the menu.

Treatment and Staff

Residential treatment length is typically 60 days and clients receive individualized treatment plans. With an emphasis on evidence-based treatment, New Choices uses two youth-specific protocols—Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) and Assertive Continuing Care (ACC)—that include active family involvement. Weekly treatment includes group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, multi-family therapy and recreational activities. Therapy topics include life skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills and coping with day-to-day stressors. As part of the ACR-A approach, clients (and families) are assigned homework; sessions start with a review of prior homework projects. Aftercare is provided for four months after program completion and involves outpatient support.

Wakeman Hall provides IOP and outpatient services for male and female adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. The protocol is similar to that of New Choices. Upon initial screening, clients receive a complete assessment, using the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) screening tool. The outpatient programs typically last three months. Weekly treatment includes eight individual therapy sessions, four family sessions, multi-family therapy, parent education, case management, recreation and aftercare. Therapy topics include relapse prevention, coping skills, drug refusal and triggers.

IOP is provided between 2:30 pm and 6 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. While the curriculum is similar to outpatient care, the level of care is more comprehensive. Aftercare is provided for three months. Clients are encouraged to participate in social and recreational events in the local vicinity.

Clients of all programs can attend an on-site school to pursue their academic education.

The staff includes more than 150 childcare workers, licensed therapists and teachers.


The Children’s Center of Hamden provides a summer camp and a seasonal equine therapy program. Recreational activities available include exercise, bicycle riding, basketball and other team sports.

Adolescent clients can participate in Teen Outreach program (TOP), a community service summer work event. Other events include volunteering at the local animal shelter, soup kitchens or food banks.

In Summary

The Children’s Center of Hamden is a pioneer in providing substance abuse treatment services for troubled and financially challenged youth and their families. While the residential program caters only to male criminal justice clients, outpatient services are provided to those who could not otherwise afford help.

Children’s Center of Hamden Location

1400 Whitney Ave
Hamden, CT 06517

Children’s Center of Hamden Cost

Sliding scale (IOP, 30 days). Reach Children’s Center of Hamden by phone at (203) 242-2116 or by email. Find Children’s Center of Hamden on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google+

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