Mission & Vision
The Center for Resilience is the former New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program. The Center is an innovative partnership among educators, clinicians, and medical practitioners and provides clinically sound, academically effective, and culturally sustaining services to ensure the emotional well-being and academic readiness of children with behavioral health disabilities in the Greater New Orleans region. Currently, the Center offers separate settings for children in grades K-8 with moderate to significant, diagnosed behavioral health disabilities whose needs cannot be met in a traditional school.
“The kids that come to us are often mistrustful of new relationships, and so when we get to a point where we see them being joyful and being kids then we know we are getting somewhere.”
— Monica Stevens, Senior Clinical Director
We work with students to build the skills necessary to be successful in a less restrictive school setting so they can one day transition back to their home schools. Ultimately, we aim to make sure all children with behavioral health needs have access to the appropriate services and placements.
“We would like to be the entity that provides all of the non-school based mental health services for children and adolescents in the greater New Orleans region.”
— Liz Marcell Williams, Executive Director
Studies suggest that approximately 60 percent of children in New Orleans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and New Orleans children are 4.5 times as likely as their peers nationwide to demonstrate signs of Serious Emotional Disturbance. And, although approximately 10 percent of students with behavioral disabilities are served outside of typical school settings nationwide, just 0.4 percent of students in Louisiana are served in alternative settings, highlighting the absence of appropriate placement and intervention options. To address these unmet needs, the Center provides caring, non-punitive, therapeutic milieu with positive behavioral supports, trauma-informed approaches, evidence-based mental health practices, small-group classroom instruction, and therapeutic recreation activities. We also offer itinerant home-bound instruction and counseling services, and school-based consultations on request. Over time, the Center seeks to expand to build a continuum of mental health placement options for children and adolescents in the Greater New Orleans area.
The Center for Resilience’s vision is that a full continuum of effective mental and behavioral health supports and interventions exists for children and adolescents in the Greater New Orleans region. In support of this vision, and by the year 2022, the Center will:
Partner with the Orleans Parish School Board to realize the true cost per child, ensuring day-to-day operating expenses are covered by city, educational, and Medicaid dollars
Expand to serve children in 9th – 12th grade
Explore the addition of a Multi Systemic Therapy team
Launch a trauma-informed early learning center for children ages birth - six
Begin planning for a residential group home
The New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program launched in 2015 in response to the lack of adequate services and placements for children with moderate to severe mental and/or behavioral health needs in New Orleans. Studies suggest that approximately 60 percent of children in New Orleans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and New Orleans children are 4.5 times as likely as their peers nationwide to demonstrate signs of Serious Emotional Disturbance. And, although approximately 10 percent of students with behavioral disabilities are served outside of typical school settings nationwide, just 0.4 percent of students in Louisiana are served in alternative settings, highlighting the absence of appropriate placement and intervention options. To address these unmet needs, NOTDP provides a caring, non-punitive, therapeutic milieu with positive behavioral supports, trauma-informed approaches, evidence-based mental health practices, small-group classroom instruction, and therapeutic recreation activities.
NOTDP was launched as an innovative partnership among the Recovery School District, Orleans Parish School Board, and Tulane Medical School’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
In 2018, NOTDP transitioned from operating as an agency of the Louisiana Department of Education to the non-profit Center for Resilience. The Center provides day treatment services to children with significant behavioral health disabilities whose needs cannot be met in a traditional school. We work with students to build the skills necessary to be successful in a less restrictive, school setting so they can one day transition back to their home schools.
 Children’s Health Fund and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Legacy of Katrina: The Impact of a Flawed Recovery on Vulnerable Children of the Gulf Coast, A Five-Year Status Report. Retrieved June 6, 2016, from http://www.childrenshealthfund.org/sites/default/files/files/Five-Years-After-Katrina-Web.pdf.
 Calculated from data drawn from the 38th Annual Report to Congress and United States Department of Education, https://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepidea/618-data/static-tables/index.html.
Safety & Compassion
We are committed to non-violence and believe everyone has a right to be safe, as defined by those we serve. As a trauma-informed organization, we seek to understand “what’s happened” to a child, rather than “what’s wrong.” We approach our work from a place of love, care, and warmth, and emphasize restorative practices and opportunities to learn from mistakes. We set clear expectations and boundaries but exercise negative consequences only when absolutely necessary and are committed to fostering & upholding self-discipline – the acceptance of personal responsibility – as opposed to relying on punishment.
Generosity of Spirit
We care for our NOTDP community by approaching our work from a place of collaboration. We honor the diversity of professional and life experiences and perspectives of all colleagues, and engage in direct, honest, caring communication, even when that is difficult. We know our work is hard, and we care for one another by exercising compassion, checking in on each other, and seeking to understand one another’s perspectives.
INTEGRITY & Accountability
We do what we say we’re going to do. We foster honest communication and transparency, and we follow through on our commitments. We take personal responsibility for our work and for the success of our program. We acknowledge that holding each other accountable for our outcomes is a participatory process in which all members of our community contribute. We stay grounded in what is in our children’s best interest.
Constant Learning & Adaptability
We approach our work with humility and an appreciation for its very real challenges. We engage in social learning, knowing that mistakes happen and we can learn from them; we identify errors and self-correct as needed. We implement and reflect on evidence-based and culturally sustaining practices. We operate with flexibility and resilience, viewing our work environment as iterative and adaptive to what is most effective in promoting children’s safety and wellness – and we acknowledge there is loss when there is change, and that being flexible and iterative is hard work.
We live the value of Community Partnership by collaborating with a variety of stakeholders in many ways:
We partner with the community of our children’s home schools, ensuring ongoing communication and support to enable children to successfully transition back to their home school
We work with parents, families, and children’s extended support networks to collaborate with those who have the capacity to be long-term agents of positive change in children’s lives
We open our doors to the New Orleans community and beyond and are welcoming to all those who want to learn with us. We work with the community to advocate for a wider and deeper range of mental health services.
A Therapeutic Milieu is Essential to Healing.
Our therapeutic environment is an intervention in itself. Therefore, throughout our environment, we implement strengths-based approaches that promote wellness and resilience. We have clear expectations with structure and routines and and use discipline to teach, not punish - such as restorative practices. We respect individual differences when designing interventions, and recognize that one size does not fit all.
Kids Do Well if They Can.
Our children want to do well and “behave” but lack the skills to do so. We don’t believe that motivation is the root of our children’s challenging behaviors - they simply have not acquired the skills to consistently meet appropriate, school-like behavioral expectations. We work with children and families to identify lagging skills and unsolved problems and engage in Collaborative and Proactive Solutions to address them. We don’t hold children to unrealistic expectations, but we believe they are resilient and capable.
Our Success is Rooted in Collaborative, Trusting, Healthy Relationships Among Children, Families, Staff, and Community Members.
We believe that healthy relationships are the cornerstone for the success of our program and the children we serve. We operate from a strengths-based stance and assume the best about others. We believe parents and schools want what is best for their children and students, respectively. We model healthy interactions between and among staff and students. We engage in direct, honest, caring communication.
Our Work Requires A Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
We promote and affirm principles of equity in relation to all intersections of race, age, color, exceptionality, faith, national origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, gender and gender expression. We take action to ensure that all team members have a deep awareness of the dynamics of race, class, and equity in school-like settings and society and are able to leverage that awareness to be the best they can be for the children and communities we have the honor to serve. It is essential that a diversity of voices shape and inform our program, and that we adopt interventions that are both culturally relevant and evidence-based.
Data and Evidence-Based Interventions Inform All Decisions.
We use data and validated practices to make decisions about what is best for children. We do not have a one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. We implement interventions with fidelity and have a commitment to offering well-researched practices to children, families, and the greater community; we are also aware that most interventions have yet to be considered well-established for minority youth, and thus, we strive to offer thoughtful, individualized interventions with the ultimate goal of scientifically studying our own efforts for contribution to the knowledge base.