Heartlight has set a number of policies to insure that we are providing the very best care for your child. At the same time, we are also responsible for insuring success of the Heartlight program as it works with a number of other children. It is our desire to fully inform all parents about the functioning of Heartlight, and to remain in constant communication with our parents to provide complete understanding of the strategies and programs set up for your child. Below are a number of policies concerning the highlighted topics. Please read each carefully and feel free to discuss any portion of this information with appropriate Heartlight staff.
Through the years we’ve found that the single most important variable involved in the success of a child’s stay at Heartlight is the parent’s commitment to our process. This includes their support and trust of the staff, program, philosophy, and guidelines. It is our hope that all parents can get “on board” with us in the process of our staff investing their lives and their effort into the life of the young people at Heartlight. We feel like this “boarding” happens best when parents understand the intent of the program, communicate with the staff, cooperate with our directives, and do not get manipulated by their child.
The main purpose of the Parent Retreats is to allow the parents to get to know the staff that are involved with their child, and to begin their process of understanding the Heartlight program. Meetings at these retreats, as well as the Family Retreats, provide a great setting to discuss updates and courses of action to take with a child. This also happens through bi-weekly phone calls with your child’s counselor, as well as your discussions with the Residential Directors. Communication and understanding are key ingredients to your child’s understanding of the partnership between Heartlight and the parents. It is crucial and vital to the effectiveness of everyone’s efforts that all involved remain focused and intent on staying unified in this unique partnership.
If a child feels that there is not unity between Heartlight and their parents, they will often attempt to manipulate and continue in maladaptive patterns by exploiting the differences and weaknesses they can find.
There are many different ways that parents can sabotage what Heartlight is trying to do for their child, often without realizing the problems that their words or actions can cause. A parent can often have the best intentions for their child, but not see the defeating patterns that exist in the styles of relating with their child. If parents are not committed to working with us and supporting our decisions, they often end up working against us and/or undermining what we are able to do with the child. Examples of how this can happen include discussing a possibility of the child coming home without graduating the program and/or discussing timelines or dates that a child could come home without making graduation the determining factor. Any attempt to rescue a child from the consequences of their behaviors or the struggles that they need to go through will also deter the child’s progress. There are times that will be difficult for the child as they talk through painful topics, face truths about themselves, and learn to live in community with others. These are all great opportunities for change and growth, but if the child is not allowed to go through the difficult times, they will miss out on those lessons.
There are often times that a child will complain to their parents about things that are happening; , consequences for inappropriate behavior they have received or being treated unfairly. When parents jump to the defense of the child, promise to take care of it, and call the staff or counselor to complain and plead their child’s case, this also takes away from the influence Heartlight can have on the child. Sometimes the child has changed some of the details, not told the whole story, or is specifically trying to cause division or conflict between the staff and parents. Our hope is that parents will always come to us with questions, and keep in mind the goal that we are working towards together. We are always willing to address questions and concerns, but hope that parents will remain trusting as we look for answers and solutions together, knowing that we are all looking out for the best interest of the child.
Parental Visits to Heartlight
Heartlight is dedicated to the family as a whole, and encourages the full and total support of the family while a child is involved in the Heartlight program. While visits from the parents and other family members are greatly encouraged, Heartlight must limit the amount of visits for obvious reasons. The Heartlight level system determines parent visitation. When the level system allows parent visitation or a resident’s visitation home; we limit visitation to once a month, per counselor approval. Heartlight reserves the right to limit visits, should they not be in the best interest of the child, the family, and/or our program. This may be affected by discipline or behavioral problems that occur with the child, or the emotional level of functioning for the child or family at the time of a potential visit.
Level System and Parents’ Investment in That System
Heartlight’s Level System is designed to promote responsible thinking and behavior, and to reward such behavior and change of heart with greater privileges. It is our desire that parents will support, by word and deed, those privileges and restrictions under each specific level. This includes phone calls, mail, visits home, etc. Completion of this system is paramount to a child’s “success” upon returning home. Historically, residents who have left Heartlight without completing the Level System have had more difficulties at home. Our desire and intention is to see each child complete the program. Our staff will not support any variance from this standard. We would prefer that a child not be placed at Heartlight if the family does not fully intend for their child to finish the Level System and graduate from the program. A copy of the Level System has been included in your Admission Packet.
New Residents Upon Admission
At the time of admission for a new resident, it is essential that the new resident understand the basic and fundamental functions of the Heartlight program. Because the staff at Heartlight don’t know how a new resident will adapt to this new environment, the need for a “transition period” is crucial. This gives Heartlight a period to observe a child’s intent, willingness, demeanor, teachability, and understanding of their placement at Heartlight. It is during this time of Level I Orientation when an understanding of the basic and essential requirements of Heartlight is transferred. If we do not transfer these concepts upon a new resident’s arrival, all other time at Heartlight will be difficult and unproductive. Progression through this temporary stage will be determined by a child’s manner in which they accept Heartlight’s guidelines.
We encourage you to be in touch with your child’s Counselor every-other week to discuss your child’s progress and to get an update on all the specific details on issues that are being discussed..
Within the first 40 days of your child’s stay at Heartlight, you will receive a Plan of Service, followed by an updated Plan of Service Review every 6 months. You and your child will be asked to be involved in these reviews. We will e-mail or mail you a form you can use to give us your thoughts and input to include in the formulation of these treatment goals and plans. We encourage you to review these materials thoroughly and then discuss any thoughts, concerns, or comments you might have with your child’s counselor and/or the treatment team.
Please don’t hesitate to call should you have any questions, concerns, comments, or needs. You may want to utilize a facsimile machine or e-mail and send us an agenda that you want to discuss with our staff prior to your phone call to make sure that discussions are productive and complete. Heartlight’s FAX number is (903) 668-3453. You may check with your child’s individual counselor for their business e-mail address, and best number to call them.
Because of the division of responsibilities among the staff, parents are encouraged to utilize different staff’s thoughts and input as to the progress of their child. Any questions about a particular area for your child should be directed to the person in charge of that area, i.e. counselor, residential director, or academic director. Please refer to the Who to Contact Who” listing (enclosed in Admission Information Packet) to help determine who the appropriate contact person is.
Communication between the staff and parents is vital. It is essential for your child to understand that there will be a concerted and supportive effort between staff and their parents. We ask the parents to take the lead in initiating communication with Heartlight staff. At times, you may get the voice mail. If so, please leave a message, and our staff will get back with you within 24 hours, or your call will be directed to a more appropriate staff to handle your questions or give updates, as soon as they are able.
Parents are allowed to call one time a week at a designated time, which the house director will pre-arrange with you. This is following your child’s first counseling session. Most often this is within the first 7 to 10 days following admission. The designated phone time eliminates parents calling and not being able to get through to talk to their child. These calls will be limited to 30 minutes or less. Staff may ask your child to stop communication early if they are becoming angry or disrespectful, or if the call is becoming harmful or unproductive. Parents are to call the resident. The resident cannot make outgoing calls. Residents are not allowed to use the Heartlight office phones, nor are they allowed to possess their own cell phones. A listing of houses individual phone numbers will be given to you upon admittance to the program.
New residents most often begin to receive mail from immediate family within the first 14 days of placement. In rare cases, Heartlight will ask that mail be limited or not sent. This would be communicated with explanation in treatment goals. More often than not it would involve circumstances with a child whose anger needs space and time to settle. At the counselor’s discretion (following the Level System privileges) and through discussion with you, others may be able to send mail to your child. The same procedures are used to evaluate your child’s privilege of writing those other than immediate family. You may send envelopes and stamps, or Heartlight can purchase them for your child from their expense account. Please send all mail with a return address. No mail is dispersed without a return address. If your child mails you a letter that includes a letter to a friend, we ask that you not mail or give that letter to the friend until the level system allows for communication with people other than family. The child’s mail will be uncensored, unless there is a concern regarding the best interest of the child that would necessitate monitoring and/or opening of incoming or outgoing mail.
Gifts may be sent to your child on holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. Heartlight encourages gifts from family to be within reason. We do ask that you call the Residential Director or your child’s counselor prior to sending any gift. If you are sending food or candy, we ask that you send enough for the whole house to share. Food is not allowed to be kept in the residential bedrooms, except in the upper level cabins.
There are 3 Parent Retreats and 3 Family Retreats that each parent will be asked to attend throughout the year. Family Retreats are easy-going, and are designed to give opportunities for families to be together in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
Family Retreats are mainly intended for immediate family; any other family members that may wish to attend need to be approved by the child’s counselor.
The Parent Retreats are designed to give parents a “seminar-type” opportunity to learn more about how Heartlight works with their child and effective ways of handling difficulties. We ask parents to attend these retreats in order; #1 Retreat, #2 Retreat, #3 Retreat. Please ask your counselor to explain the rotation of the Parent Retreats so that you will understand when it is time for you to attend the appropriate retreat for you. The Parent Retreats are smaller groups of parents. You attend a Parent Retreat approximately every three months. These are also the times that the parents are able to spend a large amount of time with the Heartlight Counselors and Directors. Most often parents will spend time with their child during evening meal break-times of the Parent Retreats.
However, a child must be on level three and have approval from the counselor to go off property with a parent. Therefore at the #1 Retreat, Heartlight serves lunch in the conference center in order for the parent and child to have some time together even though they may not be able to leave property.
Over the years, Heartlight has found that those families that do not participate in the retreats have a more difficult time when their child returns home. Participation in these retreats is essential to your child’s success upon their return home, thus required, and viewed by the Heartlight staff as essential and paramount in the “working through” of struggles and difficulties. A schedule of these retreats is mailed and updated on our website on a regular basis. Attendance of retreats should be worked out and discussed with the child’s counselor.
Heartlight Break Times
Heartlight does have a number of times throughout the year that we take a “break,” allowing those residents on the appropriate level to go home for all or part of that break. These break times happen during the public school scheduled breaks; i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas Break, Spring Break, End of School Break, and End of the Heartlight Summer Program Break.
Exact dates for these breaks will be mailed to you occasionally throughout the year. Heartlight is closed only four days each year. Those four days are at Christmas. Permission for a child to go home over these breaks will be determined by the level system and the child’s counselor, in conjunction with conversations with parents, reviews of the child’s progress at Heartlight, and the determination of the best interest of the child. If there is any question that a trip home would prove detrimental to the child’s progress or if the child has not completed the necessary responsibilities (such as schoolwork) to go home for a visit, Heartlight would recommend that the child stay at Heartlight for these breaks.
All Heartlight residents will have a Christmas break, where they are not under Heartlight jurisdiction, for a minimum of four days.
If a child is scheduled to go home for a break, yet a behavioral issue occurs that results in work hours or restriction status, the child’s break may be lost or shortened as part of their consequences. The Treatment Team would evaluate this in an attempt to determine what would serve the greatest purpose for the child. At times, there are last minute decisions for a child to remain at Heartlight during a break, even if a plane ticket has already been purchased.
Heartlight desires to work with families to set all schedules for travel arrangements for any and all travel needs of the residents. This enables us to coordinate travel for all residents in the most efficient way. In order to make arrangements for your child to come home during one of the breaks, it is first necessary to talk to the child’s counselor to find out what time frame he or she is eligible to leave campus. The guys and girls travel on different days.
Once the time frame has been established with the counselor, tentative plans for travel can be made. If your child is flying or riding the bus or train, travel arrangements must first be approved through the counselor. Put these on hold and e-mail this information to the counselor. Once the tentative plans are approved, tickets may be purchased and finalized. Heartlight must approve itineraries before the ticket is booked. If they are not, you may be responsible for a change of ticket fee dependent on the airlines procedures. Itineraries and tickets must be mailed or e-mailed to Heartlight at least one week in advance (but as soon as possible is helpful). Please forward a copy of the e-ticket or paper tickets (that show that the ticket has been purchased) to the counselor, so that plans can be made to transport your child to the airport, bus or train station.
If you are driving to pick your child up at Heartlight, the date and approximate time you will arrive should also be given to the travel coordinator so that their staff can be notified. Please note: The only airport that Heartlight can guarantee transportation to/from is the Longview airport (GGG). Flights out of Shreveport (SHV) or Tyler (TYR) need to be discussed prior to booking of flights. Heartlight does not provide transportation to Dallas (DFW or DAL). Heartlight discourages travel on days that would cause a child to miss any portion of school.
Additionally, the counselor communicates with parents and residents prior to any home visit in regards to expectations, structure, and guidelines for their time at home. The privileges and limits of the level that your child is on at the time of a visit should be the framework of the guidelines that you discuss with your counselor. This communication makes for more successful visits away from Heartlight. Please take the initiative to contact your child’s counselor to insure that these discussions take place.
During a break time, if you or your child needs to talk to someone during a hard moment, do not hesitate to call. Someone will be able to take your call even if it is not your counselor. You can call direct phone numbers or call the on-call number to reach the Residential Director on call.
Trips Away from the Facility
Your child will travel away from the Heartlight facility a number of times throughout the week (dependent on their level). This may include house activities, point-times, night out with staff, program events, other house events and church. Heartlight is a relational ministry that strives to spend time with young people in as many different situations and places as possible. Other trips your child will take include trips home on holidays or breaks. Your child will be escorted until he/she is beyond security checkpoints at places of departure. Our staff will remain at the airport until your child’s flight leaves the airport.
An authorization form must be signed prior to admission that releases Heartlight from responsibility for your child when he/she is traveling alone to and from a particular destination approved by you, i.e. home for the holidays, visiting brothers, sisters, and extended family, etc.
In a runaway situation, Heartlight will contact the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department immediately and file a missing persons report. Please understand that we will do all we can to locate your child within a 24 hour time period (follow up on phone calls, search the three mile radius around Heartlight, and follow any leads that we might receive).
This does not mean that we will be able to drive around for 24 hours, but we will search the immediate area until we are certain there is no local sighting, or until we have exhausted all possible leads. Heartlight will notify parents and keep them informed on a daily basis if any additional information or leads become available. Heartlight’s program has to continue regardless of a runaway situation. We do not want one child’s choice to run away to detract from the program for the other residents.
Beyond 24 hours, Heartlight will allow law enforcement officials to oversee the search for a child and will not actively participate in the search for a runaway child. It is very helpful for the parent to do all that they can to check with friends, e-mails, blog accounts, etc. More often than not, we see residents make initial contact with family. We ask that you stay in communication with us in these situations as well. We will maintain communication with law enforcement and do as much as we can to assist them in their search.
For any further contact or follow-up, the family should communicate with the Director of Residential Living or the Heartlight On-Call Staff for that day. Following this system of communication keeps the flow of communication more efficient.
Should a child be absent from more than 24 hours, Heartlight advises parents to hire a Private Investigator to help aid in the recovery of their child at the family’s expense. Heartlight know of areas investigators and can provide contact information. Heartlight will aid the investigator in any way possible to help resolve the runaway situation.
Heartlight will assess a runaway on a case-by-case basis to determine if it is necessary to terminate the residential relationship. The Director of Residential Living will communicate with parents if there is a need to discuss the probability of termination.
Dismissal from Heartlight
It is our hope that Heartlight’s program will be successful in the life of your child. While success cannot be guaranteed, our faithfulness to the cause of Heartlight can be. That faithfulness, coupled with the working attitude of your child, will hopefully produce a changed heart. However, if it becomes apparent that the admission review, interview, and intake process may not have given us the complete picture of your child’s needs, we may need to re-evaluate their placement at Heartlight.
If their needs may require intervention or treatment beyond the scope of Heartlight, we will communicate our concerns with you and assist you with referral options that might best suit your child’s needs and your investment of time and money. Additionally, at times, the “workability” of a child may limit the effectiveness of the Heartlight program and get to the point where they are a negative influence on other residents. It is of utmost importance that your child display respect towards Heartlight, staff and other residents, as he/she struggles through his or her own difficulties.
A child may be asked to leave the program if, at any time, Heartlight feels that all attempts to help your child have been exhausted and there doesn’t appear to be any progress.
Also, if a resident on Restriction II has made no improvement upon evaluation, to such a point that we’ve come to an impasse, or if there is a blatant violation of the principles set forth by Heartlight, we may ask that you find other placement for your child.
While it is our overall desire to keep this from happening, Heartlight will not allow any one child to have negative control over others or to destroy the effectiveness of Heartlight for others in the program. Grounds for dismissal may include: drug usage, blatant disrespect for authority that prevents Heartlight from “happening” in the life of a child, a consistent negative influence on other residents, persistent disruption of the child’s house, any type of physical threat to a resident or staff, sexual relationships with other residents, a blatant destruction of personal property, suicidal attempts or threats, lack of progress through the Level System, repeated violation of policy and/or discipline measures are no longer effective, an unwillingness to continue to work through problems with their counselor, or repeated runaway attempts.
Parents will be contacted immediately upon the staff’s first discussion about the possibility of discharge from Heartlight. In the event a resident needs to be discharged from Heartlight and will be admitted to a different program, Heartlight will make all efforts to work with parents in an appropriate timeframe to secure admission to another program.
There are times that the discharge must be immediate. Heartlight will make decisions based on the best interest of all residents at Heartlight, and on rare occasions Heartlight will have to ask a resident to be discharged with only 24 hours notice to the parents. If it is determined that the child’s placement with Heartlight must be terminated, the Discharge Policy would be implemented.
The foundation of the Heartlight counseling program is biblical truth. It is multi-faceted, supported by all staff and utilized in all interaction with your child. Counseling occurs in some way in every aspect of the Heartlight program as we develop the bridges of trust and friendship that open the doors for communication and growth. The more open a child is to these relationships with the staff, the more change we will see in that child’s life. The predominant goals of residential counseling are to pursue and develop emotional insight, maturity and self-control in each resident, through individual and group cognitive-behavioral therapy. The residential component provides the relational arena to “flesh out” what they identify and sift through in the safe environment with their counselor.
Each resident meets individually with his/her counselor for one hour each week. In addition, all residents are involved in small group therapy meetings that are scheduled twice a week. Groups deal with issues such as anger, depression, abuse, self- esteem, substance abuse, manipulation, deceitfulness, divorce, peer-pressure, relational and social skills, and other topics that the residents may identify in their lives and relationships. All small groups are led by the counseling staff.
The counseling staff works closely with a local psychiatrist who comes to our facility to meet with the residents for evaluations and to monitor medication. The Counselor acts as a liaison between parents, residents and the psychiatrist.
Heartlight is a Christian ministry that is dedicated to a Biblical Counseling model, the guidance of Scripture for family renewal, and the fulfillment of a person’s life through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The Spiritual Life program of Heartlight does not force-feed the gospel or spirituality, but seeks to invite residents into a relationship with Jesus Christ through many different aspects. The Spiritual Life program includes: required church attendance on Sunday morning, and an optional Bible study that is offered weekly (either in their house or with all of Heartlight). They also have opportunities to ask questions and discuss their thoughts with their staff through residential living and Point Times; as well as in weekly counseling.
Heartlight’s View of Academic Participation
The Heartlight schooling process has been accredited by AdvancED. AdvancED is part of the NCA Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, the Northwest Accreditation Commission, and SACS Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. Their process has determined that Heartlight meets all criteria for educational quality.
Heartlight provides one learning environment for education. All residents will participate in “on-site” schooling, using Edgenuity (Education 2020) curriculum provided by Park City Independent or Texas Tech University Independent School District (TTUISD).
Park City Independent is a fully accredited online school that provides students the opportunity to learn from anywhere in the U.S. and around the world. Using a virtual classroom, students can gain more understanding of a course through video lectures, homework assignments, quizzes and tests. The program allows students to work at their own pace, while still having access to each instructor for each course. Upon completion, the courses will be printed on a Park City Independent transcript, along with all other credits previously earned. Because Park City Independent is fully accredited, the credits your student earns should have no problem transferring to the school from which he or she plans on graduating. Park City Independent also offers a diploma for those who complete their senior level credits through their curriculum.
Park City Independent courses will be ordered as soon as the transcripts are available and will be charged to your credit card (unless arrangements have been made to pay with the expense account) on the 15th of the month the courses were ordered. The cost is $285 per course, which does not include the cost of extra materials a student may need (pens, pencils, paper, calculator, etc.). We always begin with two courses, English or Social Studies and Math or Science, and normally only do two at a time to help the students not feel overwhelmed with schoolwork. If requested, three or four courses can be ordered per the Academic Director’s approval. Once the student has completed two courses, additional courses will be ordered.
Texas Tech University Independent School District’s middle and high school are accredited by the Texas Education Agency. TEA accreditation ensures that all TTUISD curriculum meets the standards set by the State of Texas and those students will be prepared to the TAKS, STAAR and EOC exams. Texas Tech offers flexible educational solutions for students, schools and school districts.
Each course ordered through Texas Tech is $190. Each student will start with 2 courses and is given 6 months from the enrollment date to complete the course before it expires. If the course expires before the student has completed, you can choose to extend the course for 30 days for a $30 fee or $60 for 6 months. However, all courses expire one year from the original purchase date, regardless of how many extensions are purchased. All purchases will be the family’s responsibility and will require parent approval before ordering.
We have four certified teachers on staff that will be supervising and offering instruction in the classroom. Once the student has been enrolled with Texas Tech or Park City Independent and the courses made available online with Edgenuity, the students may begin their courses. Their progress and grades are measured through percentages and monitored by the Academic Director, as well as the Edgenuity instructors. You will be emailed a weekly progress report directly from Edgenuity and be sent a monthly progress report from the Academic Director of Heartlight.
Heartlight’s Academic Director formulates individual academic plans for each resident based on their individual needs as a student. This plan is based on the students’ learning abilities, as well as their position in school. The Director is the liaison between Heartlight Texas Tech and Park City Independent, ordering the appropriate curriculum for the students, monitoring their progress and ensuring that each student progresses as needed. The Director also oversees each academic advisor in the seven houses located on property, as well as the four certified teachers in the classroom.
While academics are not the primary focus in helping your child get to a better spot, we, Heartlight, do acknowledge that it is important that each kid stay on track and make progress. However, you must remember that as each child goes through the struggles of being away from home, being at Heartlight, and starts to uncover sensitive issues, there may be a period of time that their progress in academics slows. It is our goal to keep them motivated and moving forward throughout the process.
The Heartlight Board of Directors has approved the monthly tuition fee based on room and board, counseling and academic services, and program and activity expenses,
The monthly tuition is due by the fifth of each month. The monthly tuition is billed near the 20th to 23rd of the preceding month. The first month’s tuition is non-refundable upon receipt, even if the child leaves the program within the first month following arrival to Heartlight.
The first month fee pays for the first thirty days. If a portion of a month is left after the first thirty days; those days will be prorated from the monthly fee. All monthly tuition is prorated on a 30 day month. This is true of all months whether there are 28, 30, or 31 days in the month.
A full months fee is also required during any months of family vacations, Heartlight-scheduled breaks or holidays; anytime a child is absent from the Heartlight Facility, yet still enrolled in the program. A full month’s fee is required for a partial month’s enrollment when graduation from the Heartlight program falls during times of semester breaks, high school graduation, holidays, etc., as referenced previously.
The parent/custodian will pay for 14 additional days from the date of a resident leaving Heartlight in cases of runaway, early withdrawal, or early termination. If a child runs away or acts out in a manner that is a risk to another resident, themselves, or the Heartlight program, and Heartlight must terminate a child’s placement, or if the parent/custodian terminates the relationship with Heartlight prior to graduation from the program, the parent/custodian will be responsible for tuition 14 days from date of departure from Heartlight.
In the event a resident’s tuition has been paid by parent/custodian, past the date of charges as set forth in policy; Heartlight will refund the balance.
At any time that an account receivable (your monthly tuition due to Heartlight) becomes 60 days past due from the billing date of the tuition statement, a promissory note will be issued for you to sign as a binding agreement for the past due amount. If the promissory is not returned signed, or if the account status is not brought current within 15 days, the resident will be discharged as an early termination.
Heartlight gives a 60 day notification prior to any increase of fees.
In the event that you desire to submit Heartlight fees to your insurance company, it is important to note that Heartlight is licensed as a 24-hour general residential operation (GRO) for adolescents. Heartlight is not a residential treatment center. Most in-patient benefits are restricted to a licensed RTC. Therefore, most likely, the Heartlight fees for room and board and program will not be reimbursed by your insurance. Historically, most families who do receive insurance reimbursement submit the individual and group counseling fees. These most often qualify for reimbursement through the out-patient benefits. It is up to each individual family to determine their specific insurance benefits and qualified coverage. Heartlight does not file insurance. We will answer any questions that your insurance company has and we will provide itemized, date specific billing upon your request. If you have further questions, please refer to the “Who to Contact” list.
No scholarship monies given to Heartlight are refundable as deemed by IRS regulations for contributions.
It is essential and important to discuss clothes and amounts of monies with Heartlight, to give clarification to what your child can purchase. All monies, checks, or airline tickets must be sent directly to the Heartlight office and not sent to the child. A parent’s request as to how money is spent on their child will be honored if it is in the best interest of the child. Parents should not send (or allow or encourage anyone else to send) any money directly to their child or allow him/her to bring money back from home following a visit. Heartlight desires to monitor and control the amount of money a child has in her/his possession.
Each parent sets up an expense account for their child in the amount of $400. This provides for your child and all monies in this account are directly for him/her. This account is used for a variety of things a child may need while at Heartlight. This may include: doctor’s appointments, medications, personal needs (soap, shampoo, etc.), and school supplies. At the beginning of each month, a bill complete with receipts reflecting where the money has been spent will be mailed for you to replenish this account. This statement of account is due upon receipt. Expenditures from this account must be approved by the Staff of Heartlight, concurrent with procedures outlined in the Parent Information Packet. None of this money will be given to your child but will be used solely for his/her needs. All purchases made from this account are pre-approved by the parents. Residents do not have access to their expense accounts.
HEARTLIGHT’S DISCIPLINE POLICY
Discipline can be used as a tool to move a child in the correct direction building character and esteem, or it can be used as a weapon to destroy a child’s spirit, motivation, and self-esteem. Heartlight believes that correction for inappropriate behavior is necessary, but must follow strict and ardent guidelines to ensure the success of any discipline. Discipline must therefore be consistent, purposeful, fair, and proper, depending on the individual needs of a child. No disciplinary measures will be physically or emotionally damaging to any child. There will be no harsh, cruel, or unnecessary punishment. There will be no “hazing” of any child. Furthermore, no punishment will include any action or word that might be detrimental to the child’s spirit, or demeaning to his/her character in regards to academics, family background, past mistakes, or any social, physical, or emotional limitations. To ensure the success of this discipline policy, the following guidelines have been established, so that the child fully understands the actions that will follow specific infractions. All residents will be treated fairly and equitably. Discipline shall be based on a careful assessment of the circumstances of each case. Factors to consider will include the seriousness of the offense, the resident’s age and maturity, how long the resident has been at Heartlight, the frequency of misconduct, and the potential effect of the misconduct on Heartlight and other residents.
Work projects may be replaced with other types of discipline where warranted, which include loss of involvement in program activities.
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT FOR POSITIVE BEHAVIOR
Just as Heartlight insures discipline and correction for misbehavior and the need for control, Heartlight also insures recognition of positive behavior and reinforcement of growth and progress. This is measured in three areas, all separate and determined individually. They are as follows:
- Academic: Every week, residents who have completed their requirement will receive a reward from the Academic Director.
- Positive encouragement will be given continually.
- Meeting requirements to help continue to progress through the level system.
2. Family – Rewards are given to kids who are working on their family relationships, show growth and improvement, and are demonstrating an acceptance of responsibility in this area. Those can include special trips with their family, more weekends at home, and visits to brothers and sisters.
3. Heartlight Living – For those that consistently do what is expected, act honestly, and are respectful to authority, including the Heartlight staff, they are moved up the level system, which increases their privileges. In addition there are times that special trips, special recognition dinners, and extra outings are planned for those who are progressing well within the Heartlight System.
Heartlight strives to use praise, positive reinforcement, and encouragement along with disciplinary measures. We desire to encourage self-esteem, self-control, and self-direction by using positive alternatives and guidance in the redirection of a child whenever possible. Our goal in discipline is always to teach a child a new, healthier, and/or more productive alternative to their present behaviors.
Heartlight’s Use of Corporal Punishment
Heartlight does not use any form of corporal punishment for discipline of the residents.
RESTRICTION STATUS I
Current Residents: On any Level, a resident may be placed on Restriction I status when behavior has deteriorated and normal discipline procedures have become ineffective OR a blatant disregard of Heartlight policies has taken place. Restriction I Status is reviewed every 5-10 days.
Staff Determination that current discipline procedures are not working..
Repeated offenses of being expelled from on-site school.
*Runaway attempts, or Demeanor indicates (by Staff discretion) a desire to run – possibility to be put on R-1.
Non – participation in Heartlight activities which includes Masters, Question and Answer, or other activity events (residents will be allowed to participate in all counseling activities).
During Restriction I, there will be work projects each day when not attending school or until 6pm or dinner.. On Saturdays, Sundays, or school break days, they will work all day (8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.). Those who are not in school or expelled will work from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. or dinner which ever is first.
Implement Level II Privileges (Loss of allowance, going home, letters from friends, etc). The duration of this Restriction I is 5-10 days.
*Runaway situations are evaluated on a case by case basis.
RESTRICTION STATUS II
Current Residents: When a current resident, at any level, is having difficulty functioning
under the Heartlight policies, rules, and disciplines, and all attempts to correct such
behavior and attitudes is ineffective, and/or Restriction I status is proving futile, then
that resident, under staff determination, will be moved to Restriction II status.
If major improvement is not evident after 5-10 days, the resident may be moved down a level. At the end of the subsequent 5-10 days, if progress is not noted, then a conference will be called with the parents to determine the future placement of this resident and whether Heartlight is a continued option for this child.
However, in the event that a child leaves the property without permission and is
considered a “runaway,” the resident is placed immediately on Restriction II status for
5-10 days upon their return to Heartlight.
If after 5-10 days there is improvement in attitude and demeanor, and Heartlight deems that this child is “workable” in the Heartlight program, the child will be placed on Restriction I status for the next 5-10 days.
Please note that Restriction II status eliminates the privilege of going to school, until the designated period is over, possibly resulting in loss of credit for excess absences.
Staff Determination on Restriction I status residents
*Runaway attempts or Demeanor indicates (by Staff discretion) a desire to run -possibility to be put on R-2.
Drug or Alcohol Use
Non – participation in any academic settings or Heartlight events.
Work projects for the duration of Restriction II.
Level I Privileges
These work projects will be from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Resident is able to participate in counseling events as deemed appropriate by the counselor.
In the case of drug/alcohol use: if the resident is at Heartlight’s main program, they
may be asked to move to East or South and forgo the Restriction II status. This will
be determined on an individual basis and in the best interest of the resident.
*Runaway situations are evaluated on a case by case basis.
Heartlight Procedures for Intervention with Self-Harm Behaviors
To be defined as:
- the intentional cutting or scratching on the body
- any intentional burning or piercing on the body
- any intentional ingestion of cleansers, poisons or medications
Heartlight procedures for any resident with past history or current behaviors of self-harm, or anyone who begins self-harm behavior may include the following:
- Resident will be asked to stay in open, common areas of the Heartlight facilities, except at bedtime. Staff will frequently monitor the environment of the resident.
- Room and personal belongings may be randomly checked.
- Residents may sleep in a staff room if deemed necessary for safety.
- Resident will have restricted use of sharp items (razors, scissors, paperclips, staples, etc).
- Doors in the resident’s bedroom/bathroom may be removed.
- Body checks may be implemented as deemed necessary.
- Resident may be exempt from Heartlight program events.
- Resident may be given work hours.
- Resident will be taken to a hospital if any medical attention is needed, and/or if it is determined that there is a significant risk for further self-harm.
Someone from the Heartlight Treatment Team will communicate with a parent if a child does intentionally harm himself/herself, or if we have reason to believe they are at risk of doing so. Each child and situation is always looked at individually. Consequences will be determined based on what we believe the child needs, as well as the motivation behind the self-harming behaviors, the child’s current emotional state, past occurrences of self-harm, as well as any other circumstances or factors that we believe to be important or influential for the child at the time.
Our first goal for a child will be safety. Ensuring that a child is safe from harming himself/herself will always be our main priority. After that we can begin to look at redirection and how to replace this behavior with a more healthy and productive behavior or coping skill. If it is determined that Heartlight can no longer ensure the child’s safety on the Heartlight property, our staff will have the child admitted to an area Psychiatric Hospital until the child can become stable. From that point Heartlight will determine whether or not it would be appropriate to return to Heartlight. Parents will be communicated with the whole step of the way.
INFORMATION FOR ADMISSION DATE
Family/Resident Expense Account
The Family Expense Account is set up to provide for each resident’s personal needs
throughout their stay at Heartlight.
Initial Deposit: $400 (Due at the time of admission).
Payable To: Heartlight Family Expense Account
Payments Required: The total amount of charges occurred monthly.
Payment Due Date: Upon receipt of monthly statement.
Contact Person: Pam Mitchell—Conference Center (668-2173, Ext. #11)
A statement is generated in our office and will be mailed to you within 2 to 3 days
after the last day of each month. The original receipt for each charge will be included with the statement.
- Personal Needs
- Parent-approved Doctor Appointments or Fees
- Miscellaneous School Supplies
Expenses Not Allowed
- Clothing—-Clothing is not considered an ordinary expense covered by this account. In the event that clothing cannot be purchased during break days, or if a child has an immediate need, staff can take a child shopping, but additional money must be received by our office prior to the House Director scheduling a shopping trip.
- Medical Appointments exceeding $100—-When an appointment is approved by the parent, the House Director will give an estimate of charges. The money must be received prior to scheduling the appointment or the billing will be mailed to you directly for payment.
- Texas Tech. Tuition—-This must be paid by the parent’s personal credit card and initiated by the Academic Coordinator.
- Psychiatrist Appointments—-This must be paid by the parent’s personal credit card and initiated by the appointed Counselor.
THINGS TO BRING AT TIME OF PLACEMENT AT HEARTLIGHT
Copy of Birth Certificate
Copy of Social Security Card
Copy of Divorce/Custody Papers if applicable – resident may not be admitted without this.
Copy of any Court/Probation Orders
Valid Picture I.D. for Heartlight file and travel – 2 copies
Any previous placement or treatment/counseling reports.
Copy of current immunization record
Completed Medical History Form
Signed Medical Exam by physician within one year of admission or this will be done at Heartlight within the first 30 days of placement. (Please use Heartlight’s Medical Exam form as it lists the required lab tests.)
Copies of last dental visit notes or letter from dentist stating the last dental exam and recommendations. (Your child must have had a dental exam within the last year)
Medical and Dental Insurance Information
Copy of any Health Cards
Minimum of 45-day supply of any medication child is taking.
Alarm clock (battery operated)
No CD players or radios. No CDs, as Heartlight has its own stereo system and CDs
Bedding for a twin bed set of sheets, blanket, comforter (optional), and pillow
3 white bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths
No guns, knives, archery, slingshots
Residents are allowed to bring fishing poles, athletic equipment, acoustical guitars, etc.
Pictures, posters, books, desk nickknacks as there are bulletin boards and desks for each child.
Girl South residents may only use electric razors.
First Month’s Fee. We do not accept credit cards for tuition.
Expense Account Initial deposit check for $400
Educational History Form
Transcript from previous school, complete with any testing or academic needs and recommendations.
A current copy of the graduation requirements from the school they’ve been attending. (If they will attend a different school when they return home, then we will need a copy of that school’s graduation requirements.)
Please don’t hesitate to call and ask about any other items that might be in question.
CLOTHING FOR HEARTLIGHT EAST AND SOUTH
Heartlight East (boys)
3 pairs of jeans (no excessive baggy jeans or pants and the waist cannot fall below the hipbone)
* 7 plain white T-shirts
* 2 generic plain gray sweatshirts
1 pair sweatpants
9 pair underwear
9 pair socks
5 pair shorts
1 each – tennis shoes, church shoe (boot or loafer), boots, flip-flops/sandals
2 pair khaki/dress pants
2 button down shirts
2/3 pairs of pajamas
1 swimsuit (summer months)
baseball caps (optional)
Heartlight South (girls)
3 pair jeans
* 7 plain gray T-shirts (no V-necks)
* 2 generic plain gray sweatshirts
1 pair sweatpants
9 pair underwear
1/2 sport bras
9 pair socks
5 pairs of shorts
1 each – tennis shoes, dress shoes, boots, flip-flops/sandals
2/3 church outfits
2/3 pair pajamas
Swimsuit (summer months, must have one piece, may also bring two piece)
(Girls cannot wear spaghetti strap clothing, no midriff baring clothing)
*All clothing is to be generic with no logos.
*These are the only clothing items that will be needed or allowed by each resident while living at Heartlight East or South.
NEEDS will be purchased every other week. This includes film and film processing, school supplies, personal toiletry items, etc.
CLOTHING AND DEPARTMENT STORE MAKE-UP must be pre-approved with parents. Purchases will not be made prior to Heartlight receiving the monies needed for these purchases. House Directors are responsible for communication with the parents. House Directors need to plan ahead, or have the residents make these purchases when they are at home with their parents.
APPOINTMENTS will be scheduled by your child’s Residential Director. This does not include Dr. Lockhart. Any appointment that is not routine or is a special request by the resident must be communicated to parents by the Residential Director for approval.
TRAVEL is handled by your child’s Counselor. Again, no one should confirm and book a flight or any transportation itinerary with out approval of Heartlight through the Counselor. Parents are asked to charge all travel expenses on their personal charge card. It will not be charged to their expense account.
PACKAGES can be mailed to: P.O. Box 286, Hallsville, TX 75650. If you are sending something by UPS or Fed-X use the address below. Please note that if you send something regular mail to the address below, the post office will send it back to you
For UPS & Federal Express:
7345 East Highway 80
Hallsville, TX 75650