|16121 Joy Road
Detroit, MI 48228
Operated under the auspices of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, St. Peters Home
for Boys is affiliated with the Michigan Federation of Private and Child Agencies, the
Michigan Association for Emotionally Disturbed Children, the Michigan Association of
Childrens Agencies, and the National Association of Homes for Children. Its mission
is to provide residential care with individual treatment for boys aged 11 to 19 who
require placement outside their home.
Education Director Norbert Birnbaum notes that the Homes services reach beyond
the resident boys whom it directly serves to parents and/or significant others: "Each
resident is regarded as a part of a whole which includes his family system." The
Homes mission is, of course, rooted deeply in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, with
that traditions emphasis on the dignity of the individual as defined by explicit
Teachers at St. Peters make every effort to allow their students to return to
their original home environment. When this is not possible, residents are placed in a
regular or specialized foster home, or in a less structured setting. St. Peters
describes its objective as improvement of skills in family relationships, peer
relationships, educational progress, academic performance, behavior management, group
participation, self-awareness, and relationships with authority. Residents receive careful
individual guidance toward achieving these goals.
St. Peters is willing to try alternatives to the usual formulas for educating
difficult-to-teach youth. Birnbaum notes that his staff, because they teach to the
boys capabilities instead of to set academic formulas, have made academic progress
with students who have failed in other settings. "Kids who did not think that they
could read are now reading," Birnbaum says. "Often the standard ways of setting
up a classroom or getting through to students dont work and the teacher needs to be
flexible about pedagogy." St. Peters ensures flexibility. "We prefer what
actually works," says Birnbaum, "to any theory about what works."
A clear ethical structure provides the context for academic work. Residents earn
privileges through a Merit Point System, which enables each child to increase his
privileges and earn personal spending money.
"Within the structure of the program, every child has the opportunity to
participate in a year round Activity/Recreation Program. For each child to prepare himself
for the future, he is under the supervision of a Relationship Staff and Caseworker."
St. Peters does not post a per diem since individual resident needs vary
considerably. Some deferral of client costs comes from government funds (Social Security,
various state-level funds, etc.) and some come from private charities.