Bashor opens new intensive program for girls

Apr. 30—GOSHEN — Last week, Bashor Children's Home opened its doors to the first resident of its new Locked Secure Program for Girls at Lung-West.

The program is a collaboration with the Indiana Department of Child Services.

"We only see the ones that they send us, so we didn't get the full snapshot," Program Director Katie Freshour explained. Instead, they explored the entirety of the system to see what the need actually was.

"Our waitlist is always long, especially for our girls' program, and it just seems like it is never enough," Freshour said. "So, we're hoping that this program will be able to provide a little bit of relief and be able to provide a safe place for some of these girls to heal and grow, to be whatever their definition of successful is in their life."

In total, there are eight residential programs at Bashor, many specialized based on care needs.

The new Locked Secure Program for Girls at Lung-West is designed to service girls between ages 13-18 with severe mental and behavioral health needs.

"You're looking at young ladies who may be chronically running away or eloping, having suicidal ideation or self-harming themselves, aggression, substance use," Freshour said. "It's some of the same things that we deal with now, but sometimes it's young ladies who this has become a more intense need so their behaviors are sometimes very extreme."

She noted that girls' services regularly have the longest wait time and quite often parents have to leave the state to get service.

"It just seems like there are not enough resources across our state," Freshour said.

"It's really hard when you have a young lady who is struggling through some of the most challenging times in her life and not seeing the worth in herself or the value in her life or can't even see what's coming tomorrow, and you're sitting here looking at this young lady thinking, 'You have all of the potential in the world, and you are so important and so special,' and have that kiddo not be able to see that in themselves," she added.

The program will have more intensive staff resources than other programs at the residential treatment facility, and staff will receive additional training to support the program.

Freshour explained that the highly structured program is designed to keep girls busy, but also teach them beneficial habits including bodywork and movements such as sunrise yoga and mind-body breaks. There will also be educational services, group therapies and individual therapies.

Each girl has her own bedroom and access to a gym and cafeteria in downtime. Bashor has also transformed one of the eight bedrooms in the Lung-West facility on the girls' side into a calming de-escalation room. The facility is the second half of the intensive building. The first half has a boys' residential treatment facility. Freshour said while the boys' side has been open for a long time, during most of her time at Bashor, the girls' side has been closed. The sex trafficking program, which opened in 2019, was housed in the facility until the new building was constructed. It's taken a few years to renovate and hire and train adequate staff. Girls in the program are referred by the Department of Child Services

Dani Messick is the education and entertainment reporter for The Goshen News. She can be reached at or at 574-538-2065.