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Programs A.R.C. Residential Program

A.R.C. Residential Program

The A.R.C. Program
Attachment-based Residential Care

Thornwell’s A.R.C. program offers children access to a full spectrum of services dedicated to their long-term healing. We believe in TRANSFORMATIONAL care that addresses the holistic needs of children who have experienced trauma.

Children working with Thornwell’s ARC Program may be placed by State agencies (such as Department of Social Services). Help is also sought privately by loving parents and caregivers who are struggling to deal with the long-term impact of their child’s early experiences of abuse and neglect, or those experiencing adoption related issues.

Most children and families work with our A.R.C. Program for 9-18 months and then receive reunification support from Thornwell’s Building Families In-Home Therapy Program (available in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina). Our staff is highly trained to meet the unique needs that children with developmental trauma bring. Many are adoptive parents themselves and understand on a deep level the experiences that adoptive and relative caregiver families have.

If you’re ready to feel confident that you are meeting your child’s needs in the best way possible, we’d love to talk with you!

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Click the images to scroll through enlarged photos of our beautiful campus and cottages.

Every family has a story, and every story has an "arc"

Parents and caregivers often find Thornwell at the peak of their arc – a time when pain, tension, confusion and feeling helpless to respond to their child’s trauma and resulting behavior can feel overwhelming. That’s why Thornwell developed the A.R.C. program – to partner with families through innovative, cutting-edge residential care that supports the attachment relationship between the child and their family, and work towards healing for the entire family system.

Schedule a complimentary call.

We know you have a lot of questions and want to be sure you find a program that will best meet the needs of your child and family. Schedule a free consultation today to get started.

We'll get to know your child's unique needs.

Our Admissions Staff will talk with you about our intervention and find out how we might be able to assist your family in finding the help you’ve been looking for.

We’ll work together to implement a plan that works.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Each child’s plan of care is individualized to their unique needs. We will determine program fees based on individual circumstances. Family financial assistance is available.

Meeting Your Child's Needs

Through Transformative Care

Children and teenagers residing at Thornwell are provided:

  • On-site individual and group therapy
  • Family therapy with remote/telehealth options available for caregivers
  • On-site psychiatric and medication management services
  • Expressive Therapy programs including Art, Drama and Equine (horse-assisted) Therapy
  • Sensory integration and regulation support
  • Enrollment in Thornwell’s on-site Charter School serving grades K-11 children on campus and in the community
  • Laurens County Public Schools and Virtual Schools are also available for children whose behavioral or educational needs are better served in those settings
  • Personalized after-school tutoring at our on-site Learning Center and Thornwell’s Read Right reading intervention program
  • Recreational and extracurricular activities
  • Spiritual nurture and support

Thornwell’s Milieu approach to Attachment-based Residential Care includes family-like homes with specially trained staff, called Teaching Parents, who provide 24/7 care and supervision for children. Our beautiful, historic cottages are located on Thornwell’s 400-acre campus located in the Historic District of Clinton, SC. Each cottage is home to 6-8 children (grouped by age/gender). Thornwell is a nationally accredited residential program through the Council on Accreditation (COA).

Our cottage life is guided by care that is:

Children in the program participate in Thornwell’s full continuum of care, uniquely designed to produce lasting change and heal the whole family.

Our program model uses an evidence-based intervention called Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®), a therapeutic model that equips caregivers with the skills needed to meet the complex needs of children who have experienced abuse/neglect and other forms of developmental trauma.

Parent visitation on-campus, and child visits home for holidays and important family events are encouraged.

As your family works towards your treatment plan goals, we will engage you in developing a transition plan that supports your child’s successful re-entry into life at home.

Families are a key component in our treatment model.

We work alongside caregivers to plan for the successful reunification of their child and ensure they remain highly involved in their child’s care while they are living outside the home.Parents and caregivers can expect to complete “Parent Training” using the TBRI Caregiver Training program. Family therapy is provided, with telehealth options available for families who are not within driving distance of campus. Regular academic/school updates are provided to families, along with opportunities to participate in their child’s educational conferences and Residential Treatment Team meetings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the A.R.C. Program for?

Thornwell’s Attachment-Based Residential Care Program (ARC) is designed for youth ages 12-18 who have early experiences of trauma, abuse, neglect, and/or are experiencing adoption or attachment-related issues in the home. Youth will live in a family-like setting on Thornwell’s campus in Clinton, SC, to receive therapeutic support for 9-18 months until a stable transition back to family is possible. Families participating in the program must be willing and eager to reunify with the youth.  

Admission is determined through an individualized assessment. We want to learn more about the youth and the family’s needs. From there, the Admissions Team creates an individualized plan suited to the unique needs of the youth and the family. Youth who do well in this program typically have non-aggressive/ non-violent behavior outside the home and stable medication management. Thornwell’s ARC program is a Level One Therapeutic Group Home. We provide a full spectrum of services dedicated to long-term healing and well-being. The primary focus of treatment is helping the youth and the family to thrive together so that reunification is successful.   

Thornwell does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. 

What is the cost? Do you take insurance?

The cost of care is determined through an individualized family assessment. A family receives a cost-of-care quote based on a sliding fee scale determined by income and family size. We do not currently accept insurance. The family rarely pays the full cost of actual care; Thornwell’s ministry partners typically cover more than half the cost of care. The minimum cost to the family is $750 per month. Some scholarships are available. 

Thornwell’s Admissions team will work with each family to assess alternative funding sources. Youth adopted through the South Carolina Department of Social Services may be eligible for adoption subsidies or other financial support from Post-Adoption Financial Services.  

What therapeutic modalities or practices are used?

Evidence-Based Interventions like Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) are the foundations of our programs. While Thornwell is a Christian ministry, all therapy is evidence-based. Therapy is not religious. An individualized treatment plan will be tailored to meet the unique needs of youth during their time on campus. Youth in the program will participate in individual therapy and group therapy. They will have the option to participate in expressive therapies, including art, drama, and equine (horse-assisted) therapy. Therapists are fully licensed. 

Just as significant as the child’s healing, parents should expect to work with the therapist on goals such as learning to better understand the child’s needs, effective communication, and getting on the same page with the spouse/partner regarding parenting the child. Work with siblings is also incorporated if the sibling relationship is problematic.  

What can parents/caregivers expect their role to be?

The primary focus of our treatment program is helping the whole family thrive together. As such, parents or caregivers are expected to remain highly involved in their child’s care during their stay at Thornwell. 

We actively work with the whole family system to ensure the best possible outcomes. When a child is enrolled in the A.R.C. Residential Program, parents or caregivers may be required to complete “Parent Training” using the TBRI® Caregiver Training program. Family therapy is often provided, with telehealth options available if the family is not within driving distance of campus. Our Parent Support and Strategies Virtual Village is also available twice a month. Regular academic/school updates will be provided, along with opportunities to participate in their child’s educational conferences and Residential Treatment Team meetings.  

Parent visitation on-campus and child visits home for holidays, designated weekends, and important family events are encouraged in conjunction with therapist recommendations. As the family works towards treatment plan goals, we will engage parents/caregivers in developing a transition plan that supports the child’s successful re-entry into life at home. 

Is A.R.C. a faith-based program?

Thornwell was founded in 1875 by a Presbyterian minister serving orphans following the Civil War. We are rooted in the Christian faith tradition and maintain a connection to the Presbyterian Church (USA) to this day. While faith drives the personal and professional values of our staff, there is no faith requirement for youth or families to participate in our programs, including the Attachment-Based Residential Care program.  

As part of the A.R.C. program, participating youth will be exposed to spiritual development and Christian nurture through relationships with Teaching Parents, campus staff, and church leaders. Teaching Parents will take youth to church and/or youth group services at a local church and participate in bible study.  

As with other elements of the A.R.C. program, we wish to serve the unique needs of the child and family and determine the best way to support the individual faith traditions of participants. 

What can youth expect while living on campus?

We understand that out-of-home placement is not an easy decision to make or understand for a family. Thornwell’s Attachment-Based Residential Program seeks to make our therapeutic community style living as close to “normal” life as possible while providing all the supports, services, and interventions needed for youth to thrive and build pathways towards reunification. Youth live in cottage housing with 6-8 other youth (grouped by age and sex) and Teaching Parents. Daily activities are designed to provide a therapeutic experience.   

Where will youth go to school?

Youth will typically attend our partner Thornwell Charter School. They will receive after-school tutoring at our Thornwell Learning Center, which offers students access to a computer center, a fully stocked library, and tutors who help with homework and challenging subjects. They may also participate in our reading empowerment program, “Read Right. 

We actively work with the whole family system to ensure the best possible outcomes for children!

“I’m just looking around the table and all of these people who are here to help my son, and me, and I feel like I’m not alone anymore.”

A.R.C. Residential Program Parent

“There was no judgment at all. It can be very intimidating to let someone in your house to see all of your flaws. She [family specialist] loved us for who we are. She met us where we were.”

Building Families Participant, Atlanta, GA

“As a mom, I feel so much more confident because I’ve had somebody in the trenches with me… alongside me.”

Building Families Participant, Greenville, SC

“I just enjoyed it so much. There was so much love, and the teachers were so patient, so respectful, and so encouraging. It is hard to try and find people to encourage you in life. Sometimes you feel all by yourself, not knowing that there are people that love you and care about you. Strengthening Families truly blessed my soul.”

Glenda, Strengthening Families Graduate

“I had support in people I knew who cared about me and that just gave me an extra boost of motivation. It was just the motivation and the people caring.  I think that’s what really set it off.”

Tanisha, a Thornwell Alumna
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