Thornwell is proud to use the well- known, evidence-based Teaching-Family Model (TFM). The TFM began in the 1960’s with research into youth behavior at the University of Kansas. The Teaching-Family Model is now advocated worldwide by the Teaching-Family Association and is also endorsed by the American Psychological Association. Family teachers and family specialists undergo a review and certification process yearly. Children and families provide feedback on the services they receive at Thornwell.

The focus in this program is establishing a family-style environment that is non-institutional, pleasant, relaxed, and positive. This approach is clearly biblical in concept and rooted in the belief of reformed theology that every person is a unique individual, created by God as the very object of God’s love.  As a ministry of the church, we seek a higher standard of service that, when applied with discipline and compassion, will bring healing and hope to the children, young people, and families we serve.

Elements of the Teaching-Family Model include:

  • Teaching interactions where social, academic, and maintenance are taught effectively
  • Self-determination so children can acquire rational problem-solving and self-control skills
  • Counseling, relationship development, and motivation systems that are positive, flexible, individualized, least-restrictive, respectful of the rights of others, developmentally appropriate, and focused on the needs of the child

Members of the Teaching-Family Association undergo a review and certification process regularly. Referral and funding agents, board members, and individuals in the program are asked to rate and provide comments about the programs. Findings are summarized and reported to Thornwell and to the appropriate TFA committee.