From humble beginnings in Kansas City, Missouri in 1883 to being part of a national behavioral health organization working to transform the experience of childhood for children, Niles has built a legacy in its 135-year history that it is proud of and will endure. Niles is a nonprofit organization that helps children who have experienced traumatic stress or mental health challenges by providing compassionate behavioral health treatment.
Niles offers two behavioral health programs: day treatment and residential treatment. Day treatment is an alternative education setting for children grades K-12. Youth served often struggle with challenges that make standard classroom learning difficult. In our day treatment program, students can continue their education with additional therapeutic support. Niles also provides residential treatment for children who struggle with mental and behavioral issues.
After a temporary hiatus for the residential treatment program in 2016, Niles joined the KVC Health Systems family to ensure our mission would continue to meet the needs of youth and families in the heart of Kansas City. In 2017 Niles renovated its campus with the significant environment of care enhancements to improve the safety and wellbeing of youth and staff while providing an inviting and engaging treatment setting. Later in 2017, Niles reopened its residential treatment program and has been able to significantly reduce the length of treatment stay, meaning that we were able to help children and teens heal and safely return home in a shorter amount of time.
A lot has changed since 1883, but our core values have remained the same – providing a place where children and teens can grow, learn and heal. As we continue to expand our services, we want to keep that legacy alive. Here’s where Niles is today, and where we plan to go.
Niles Prep therapeutic educational program currently accepts referrals of students from the Kansas City, Missouri School District and Kansas City area charter schools, and can serve up to 40 children within four classrooms and four special education teachers.
Niles Prep has also focused on integrating technology into the classroom to engage students and uses an online curriculum along with supplemental instruction in all areas. Students at Niles Prep have the opportunity to attend supplemental field trips like cultural opportunities, outings to support character development and volunteering experiences.
“We are focusing on developing life skills and paying it forward to our community. I think it is important to instill philanthropic qualities in our students. It helps them to develop positive characteristics and become contributing members of society. While I think academics are extremely important, I think learning how to “just be a good person” is even more crucial,” said Niles Prep School Administrator Lindsey Russell.
After completing building renovations in 2017, the Niles residential treatment program reopened to once again treat youth age 6-17 years old. Niles provides treatment for up to 28 children with improved common areas and treatment spaces. Children and teens that are admitted to receive psychiatric treatment at Niles are struggling with the effects of trauma, and other mental and behavioral health challenges.
The treatment services offered in the residential treatment program have expanded to include a trauma-informed approach that is based on Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) to provide effective, evidence-based services and interventions to address a child’s emotional needs as well as his or her social environment. This trauma-informed approach allows us to understand a child’s symptoms in the context of his or her world and includes educating the individual, their caregivers and home environment on how to support him or her for a healthy future.
The Learning Lab at Niles is a new feature to the program that gives children an opportunity to build resilience, learn about their brains, understand their emotions and find healthy ways to cope. We utilize virtual reality technology to interactively connect with the children and assist them in visualizing the abstract.
Niles has always been identified as a safe haven for youth in need, but as a result of our integration with KVC Health Systems, we have been able to serve youth more efficiently, reducing residential treatment stays from 9 months to just about 3 months with the support of research and evidence-based practice.
As Niles continues to treat children and teens in Kansas City, we hope to continue safely reducing treatment stays, helping children return to their homes sooner. We hope to offer our level of treatment to more communities.
Both programs offer access to individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy and medication management and we’ve been able to add recreation, art, music, and animal-assisted therapy services. We plan to continue to develop those programs and offer more programs for the children in treatment.
“We’re so thankful for all of the support from the community, donors, employees, and volunteers that have helped Niles throughout the years,” said President of Niles, Astra Garner. “With their support, we’ve been able to keep Niles a place where youth and families can turn to for help.”
Thank you to our 135th Anniversary Celebration event sponsor!
To learn more about becoming a KVC sponsor contact Michelle Lawrence, Vice President of Development, at (913) 322-4900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.