Pressley Ridge’s Community Residential Rehabilitation (CRR) Program is a strength-based, trauma-informed treatment program provided in a highly structured treatment home. CRR allows children and adolescents to receive the necessary mental health treatment while remaining in the community instead of residing in an institution such as an inpatient facility or residential treatment facility. Treatment homes consists of specially trained treatment foster parents who focus on the strengths of each youth while guiding and supporting them in achieving their goals. The Pressley Ridge CRR staff collaborate with the treatment foster parents to create a home environment that incorporates treatment into everyday living. The CRR staff and treatment parents also work intimately with the youth’s caregivers to achieve greater family connectedness.

Ian and Koren Blythe became treatment foster parents with Pressley Ridge nearly four years ago at a time when their own children were transitioning into adulthood. As the house began to feel empty, they knew they had a unique opportunity to provide a stable home for youth who needed a place to feel safe and thrive in.

They first learned about foster parenting and the CRR program through a colleague at their church. After further research, Ian and Koren contacted Pressley Ridge to obtain additional information. After the initial conversation, they dove headfirst into completing everything they needed to prepare for a youth to enter their home. Ian remembers, “The training was intense and very comprehensive, but well worth it. Those trainings became the bedrock for who we are as treatment foster parents.” They embraced the training as a family and made sure their children were also prepared to respond to certain situations as they’d be living as a cohesive family with the youth they welcomed into their home.

Ian and Koren chose to be an important part of a team providing treatment and support to youth through their involvement with the CRR program. Ian wanted to make a positive impact on their lives.

“If we can help them, and if that help can make a positive change in their behavior and lives, I believe they’ll go on to feel better about themselves and make the world a better place.”

Ian Blythe

Both Ian and Koren were especially qualified to be CRR parents as they had both faced adversities and had their own life experiences to pull from in supporting these children. While they knew that it would be challenging to take on some of the behavioral concerns, the Blythes fully embraced Pressley Ridge’s trauma-informed care approach. “These kids are not choosing to misbehave, it’s about what’s happened to them that’s causing these difficulties,” Ian said.

With the added support needed for CRR children, their family went in to foster parenting knowing they’d need to set clear boundaries to provide the best support. Although they continue to pull from their training and parent with a serious and strict foundation, Ian was surprised how easy it was for him and his family to break down their own barriers and the barriers of the youth. “I went in thinking I’d treat them as clients with a strict plan of care, but they all became instant family. We see them as part of our family, and the kids feel this. They know they’re family.”

Ian and Koren believe in “fighting for the good and the same purpose” of Pressley Ridge’s belief in focusing on the strengths of every child and striving to keep families together. They’ve learned to keep the textbook handy but to rely on their own experiences in fostering a loving and supportive home to children in need of stability and care.

The Blythes received their first placement the same week they completed their certification as treatment foster parents in 2020. Since then, they have cared for more than 29 kids in their home. Some of these youth were in their home as a respite for only one weekend and others have stayed for an average of six to nine months. Four years later, they still remain close to that first young man they welcomed into their home.

One of the family’s most memorable teens has been in their home on and off for the past two years. The 19-year-old is on the autism spectrum and has faced many adversities throughout his life. His significant behavioral and social challenges led Ian and Koren to want to give up multiple times, but in the end they persisted. Now, he is, as Ian puts it, the “star of the show” as he prepares to head off to college. The Blythes have made sure that he knows they will always be his family and will welcome him home on college breaks.

Koren fondly remembers another teen girl who came to them with a significant trauma history. She experienced abuse that led to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. The Blythes worked to build a trusting relationship with her while she was residing in their home. Following discharge from the CRR program, the Blythes remain in contact with the young woman, who recently went on a mission trip to Honduras and is about to obtain her driver’s license. These accomplishments would have never been possible without the love, support and treatment she received through the CRR program.

In the same way that Ian and Koren have seen so many children grow and prosper in their own home, their relationship with Pressley Ridge has grown, as well. They’ve created a strong and valued relationship with the staff, especially their clinical supervisor Abby Chan. They communicate and rely on each other to create an environment where these children can thrive. “We specialize in the more challenging cases, many teenagers, even older teens,” Ian said. “We continue to take on the acute cases because Abby believes in us. She believes we are equipped to take on the tougher cases.”

Abby is grateful to have foster parents like the Blythes as partners in treating the youth in the program. “Not only are Ian and Koren amazing and supportive treatment foster parents, they are also huge advocates for CRR and constantly working to enhance the program’s success through innovative ideas and recruitment of families.”

Click here to learn more about Community Residential Rehabilitation and becoming a treatment foster parent.