Ixtlan is a continuous
,construction project in the
woods adjacent to the
ABOVE: Patient boots.
LEFT: The Michael-
Rodecker House in Livonia.
outlet for energy and a place to learn
cooperation and comradeship.
"The Michel-Rodecker House was
25 years ahead of its time," explain-
ed Franklin. "It pioneered the group
home, offering milieu-based treat-
ment, centered around the needs of
the children. Children were offered a
short-term stay of 18 months to two
"Our goal from the beginning has
been 'permanency planning. We try
to return the children to their homos,
or if appropriate, to an adoptive home
or independent living."
Independent living is a major goal
of the Transitional House, founded in
1980 in Southfield for six boys, 12- to
18-years old. These children, often
emotionally ill because of their fami-
ly situation, are offered structured
group living as an alternative to a
psychiatric hospital. After their short-
term stay, many are placed in foster
homes or, at 18 years, given the tools
to live independently.
"Many families do not want their
older teenage boys back," said
Franklin. "We try to help our boys
leave and move forward."
Like the Livonia home, Transi-
tional House has a low profile, quiet-
ly set back off the street on a treed lot.
The house looks lived in and comfor-
table, designed with teenagers in
mind. The recreation room holds
weight-lifting equipment. A pin-ball
machine stands at attention in the
In the kitchen, cook Wanda
Meeks is unloading the bags of frozen
treats kids love. The rest of the
groceries wait patiently in the car for
the boys' return from school. Marjorie
Friedman, the caseworker, is busy
writing notes in her office.
A similar scene is played out at
the Adolescent Girls Program, the
Southfield home established in 1982.
Six girls, 12- to 18-years old, call this
home. For many, it is the first stable
environment they have experienced.
"The majority of the children we see
are emotionally damaged by their
home life. Society has been reluctant
to hospitalize girls. Often, when we
finally receive a referral, the girls
have fallen victim to more than one
abuse. They are more streetwise than
the boys, and often much more
distrustful," said Franklin.
May Templeton, house manager,
knows first-hand the challenges work-
ing with six difficult teenage girls.
"There are emotional traumas at
least three times a week. We try to be
there for the child, to help her build
a trusting relationship, to build up
her self-confidence and give her an op-
portunity to succeed.
"Our biggest problems occur at
holiday time," said Templeton. "What
can you say to a kid who has no home
to go to? Most families want nothing
more to do with their teenage
daughters. We try to find the girls
liaisons for the holidays, families who
will show an interest and invite them
into their homes?'
On the bulletin board in
Thmpleton's office is a list of the girls'
birthdays and a homemade "Cagney
and Lacey Award" recognizing
Templeton's "work beyond the call of
duty?' It's one tangible sign of her
While the residential homes
make up the core of Orchards' ser-
vices, many other programs have been
implemented for support. Foremost
among these is the Foster Care
Barbara Mayer, an NCJW
volunteer, worked with Suzanne
Franklin to formalize a system that
would recruit, train and offer support
for foster families.
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