Army of Angels

Aug 8, 2014

Albertina Kerr Program Highlights

Kerr’s programs are unique in Oregon, providing intensive intervention and psychiatric treatment for toddlers, young children and teenagers from early childhood to 18. Twenty-one percent of low-income youth ages 6 to 17 have mental health challenges and one in ten has a mental health challenge that is severe enough to impair how they function at home, school, or in the community. Sadly, 75% to 80% of children with mental health challenges do not receive the mental health care they need during this critical phase of their life. Kerr provides treatment and skills training geared toward creating new potential for a healthy, productive life for each child. In the last year Kerr's Youth and Family Services reported the following results: 

Crisis Psychiatric Care: Kerr provided short-term residential care for 290 children with urgent mental health crises. Kerr works to stabilize children in crisis, provide effective mental health treatment and ultimately return the child to their home or a less intensive level of care. The program exceeded its outcome goals, transitioning 82% percent of children to a less intensive level of care, including returning to their family.

Intensive Community-Based Treatment Services: Kerr served 166 low-income children, ages 4 to 17, at risk of being unable to stay in their home or in school due to mental health challenges. Therapy, skills training, and intensive behavioral support allowed 93% of children to transition to less intensive care.

Community-Based Outpatient Services: Mental health services for 253 children, youth and their families were provided in community settings, including homes, schools and other locations. Services stabilize the child and other affected family members during periods of transition or disruption. During the year 92% of children transitioned to less intensive care.

Early Childhood Outpatient Services: Kerr served 49 pre-school children with behavioral challenges and their families. All 49 children showed improvement and were able to transition to less intensive care. Services result in the child and family developing skills the promote the child’s success and safety, preparing them to enter kindergarten ready to learn in their local community schools.

Special Needs & Therapeutic Foster Care: Kerr provided care for 90 children in foster care who have both mental health challenges and developmental disabilities and require skills training and extensive foster parent support.

Albertina Kerr also provides a wide range of services and programs designed to support children and adults with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy, empowering them to live richer lives. An estimated 38,000 individuals experience a developmental disability in Oregon. The people Kerr serves receive care, skills training and support for community involvement in their homes, in the community and in group homes.

Group Homes for Youth: Kerr provided 24-hour care and treatment for 107 youth, ages 9 to 18, with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges in 15 group homes. In aggregate, youth in group homes accomplished 85% of their Individual Service Plan goals and 86% of the youth who left group home had developed the skills necessary to move to a less restrictive environment.

Intensive Treatment Program for Youth: This 10-bed secure treatment program services youth with developmental disabilities, many of whom have concurrent mental health challenges. The only program of its kind in Oregon served 24 youth from across the state. Eighty-seven percent of the youth who left the program discharged having developed the skills to move to a less restrictive environment.

Group Homes for Adults: Kerr provided a neighborhood home in a residential community for 113 men and women with developmental disabilities in 31 group homes. Of the adults abled and inclined, 91% were socially engaged in meaningful relationships outside of their caregiving community. In aggregate, adults in group home care accomplished 93% of their Individual Service Plan goals.

Community Inclusion and Employment Services: A total of 277 adults and 43 youth participated in programs for people with developmental disabilities that give them the opportunity to participate in the workforce, join in activities and pursue hobbies that enrich their lives, leading to increased independence and community involvement. Fifty-four percent of the adult participants engaged in employment opportunities, while others explored different hobbies, developed interests, did volunteer work and experienced life in the community. Youth from Kerr’s Youth Group Homes volunteered 408 hours at Kerr Bikes, a bicycle rental business in Portland’s Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Into our second century, Albertina Kerr continues to develop innovative solutions and expand capacity for community needs. Community support is vital to our work; public funding fails to meet the vast need. Private support helps create a society that has no barriers.


May 9, 2014

You Make a Difference

When you support Albertina Kerr, you make a difference for a family in crisis. In 2012, Amy found out that her daughter had been trying to deal with it by herself and got to the point where she felt that "the only thing she could do was end her life." After a terrifying trip to the emergency room following a suicide attempt, Amy and her daughter walked through the doors of the Crisis Psychiatric Care program. "I was scared knowing she wasn't coming home with me, but relieved knowing that she was getting the help she needed," said Amy.

Albertina Kerr's Crisis Psychiatric Care program offers short-term residential care and 24-hour access to mental health care for children experiencing a mental health crisis. During her stay, Amy's daughter was supported by a dedicated team who gave her the professional psychiatric care, family therapy and skill necessary to move forward. According to Amy, the staff at Albertina Kerr helped her daughter feel like her life was worth living. Learn more about her story by watching the video here.

Feb 10, 2014

Natty's House

Natalie, who prefers to be known as "Natty," has lived in an Albertina Kerr neighborhood group home in Eugene for more than 10 years. She had not walked in many years but recently demonstrated that she was ready to try again. With staff standing by, Natty is now walking from her room to the dining table or anywhere else she wants to go. The supportive staff have helped empower her to make this transition as well as establishing contact with lost friends and family - to whom she now sends cards and letters to each month. Albertina Kerr's neighborhood-based group homes like the one where Natty lives help provide an enriched environment that supports each individual as they realize their full potential.

Nov 11, 2013

Adults with Developmental Disabilities Gain Skills

Twins Nick and Olga work at Albertina Kerr's Port City employment program for people with developmental disabilities.  They enjoy producing artwork and tending vegetables in the garden in the ProjectGrow program, but most of all they appreciate the camaraderie and community of their workplace.  When asked how she feels about coming to work, Olga said: "I feel joy.  If I stayed home, I would lay down and cry to not have ProjectGrow.  I have lots of friends.  I can use my talents here.  Everybody helps me if I need something.  They respect me."

Albertina Kerr's employment programs such as Port City and Art from the Heart, an art gallery and studio, offer people with developmental disbilities opportunities to participate in the workforce and express themselves creatively.  Jobs are developed on the basis of each person's skill  level and interests, empowering people to contribute to the workforce and gain a sense of accomplishment, share talents with others and develop new social relationships. 

"Without these connections they are much more likely to experience a crisis or decline.  Often, this may be the only opportunity that these individuals have to get out of their homes," said Chris Krenk, Albertina Kerr CEO.

At Port City, opportunities include screen printing, production work, artistic expression, urban farming and animal husbandry, woodworking and a center for people with high care and meidcal needs.

A job can be a major factor in shaping anyone's life, but at Albertina Kerr it can be lifechanging.  Port City's Hilary Zust said: "For many of the people that work here, they have been institutionalized for a really long time period and don't really have a lot of community outside of here.  It's important for them to have that socialization.  And to earn a paycheck."


Aug 5, 2013

Therapeutic Foster Care

Michael (13) and his brother (9) were removed from their home when their father’s abuse left the younger brother with a broken arm. Their mother, suffering from severe depression, was unable to care for them. When Michael was moved into a Kerr foster home, he was moody, depressed and extremely angry. Kerr’s therapists helped him find ways to decrease his anxiety and express his feelings. They also worked with his mother and through weekly supervised visits they started developing a more normal parent-child relationship. Soon, Michael’s younger brother joined him in the Kerr foster home and in supervised visits with their mother.

Less than a year later, Michael and his brother are living at home with their mother. Michael was named student of the month at his school. All three keep in touch with the foster family and are continuing with individual and family therapy, making sure they keep their new ties with each other and the community strong.

At Albertina Kerr, we are asked to care for children who have experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse. They are children who may be struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. They experience challenges at school and may lag behind their peers because they have changed schools each time they have moved homes.

Your support helps provide these essential services to children in need.

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Albertina Kerr Centers Foundation

Portland, OR, United States

Project Leader

Nanda Sturm

Associate Director, Corporate Development & Giving
Portland, Oregon United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Army of Angels