In 2022, we were thrilled to have our students once again connecting in person with the community, playing in community basketball leagues, participating in musical performances, and enjoying many other activities. In addition to the long-standing connections we have in our home state of Virginia, we’ve made new connections—and progress—beyond our state borders.
In June of 2022, Grafton’s new psychiatric residential treatment center in Cold Spring, Minnesota, welcomed its first client. The campus—which features housing for up to 30 children, an outdoor play area, game room, offices, and classrooms—offers short-term residential and educational services for children and adolescents (ages 8-21) with dual diagnoses of mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Clients are referred by school districts, community-based case managers, parents, and local medical and psychiatric hospitals. Academic services are provided on-site through a partnership with Benton Stearns School District.
Our program has already made a difference in preventing children from languishing in emergency rooms for days, or even weeks, at a time. In addition, we’ve integrated ourselves into the Cold Spring community by attending community activities, participating in fundraising events, and supporting local businesses, as well as hosting multiple visits from the local police department, Chamber of Commerce, and local elected officials.
Something we continue to take pride in is Grafton’s multidisciplinary approach. While many organizations focus on either behavioral health or intellectual disabilities, Grafton believes that serving both populations improves outcomes for everyone. Though these client populations are served separately, our teams interact constantly, sharing the latest knowledge in their respective fields. In addition, our clinical model is informed by both behaviorism and psychotherapeutic techniques.
This approach is nothing new for us—it’s how we’ve operated for quite some time—so we often forget that it’s not the norm. But, during a recent site visit, an internationally recognized certification team told us they were unaware of any other entity that combines formal behaviorism (led by Board Certified Behavior Analysts and Registered Behavior Technicians) with psychotherapeutic techniques (led by social workers, counselors, and psychologists) and other specialty professionals, such as speech and language pathologists and occupational therapists. While this is considered cost prohibitive for many organizations, we know that the complexity of those we serve demands this approach. We do it because it is the best way to meet our clients’ needs, regardless of the cost.
In 2022, we were also joined by five new board members, who help round out the extraordinary skillset and vision of the team. The deep institutional knowledge brought by our experienced board leaders, coupled with fresh perspectives from these new members, will inevitably make Grafton a stronger organization as it moves forward. Our strategic objectives in the coming year are focused on three things:
- Ensuring our growth is sustainable. We want to make sure that our expansion into new geographies, as well as the programs we are known for in Virginia, are strong and can continue serving our communities. We want to manage our growth thoughtfully, rather than adding locations to our roster too quickly. For the moment, we are staying the course with the facilities and locations currently within our portfolio.
- Attracting top tier talent. The labor market continues to be challenging, but we are seeing hopeful signs in terms of our recruiting efforts. The needle is moving in the right direction. Due to the nature of our industry, recruitment will be an ongoing priority and the next 12 months.
- Helping clients in ways that no one else can. Grafton has a long history of successfully serving clients who were unable to receive services elsewhere. That is, and always will be, core to our strategy. We want to ensure that children get the help they need, regardless of location or any other barrier. We will continue to innovate and improve our operations to achieve our goal of being a Center of Excellence for individuals with intellectual, developmental, and complex mental health challenges.
This past year has been a great one, and we anticipate that will only continue into 2023 and beyond. In large part, this optimism is a result of the connections we share with our community—including all of you. Thank you for your continued partnership and support of Grafton!
James Stewart, Grafton CEO
Brian Partlow, Grafton Board Chair