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An Introduction -- Who We Are and What's In This Site

Welcome to the home page of the August Aichhorn Center.  The Aichhorn Center was organized as a not-for-profit corporation in New York State in 1977 to serve, to study and to teach about the special problems of providing long-term care and treatment to teenagers who were "unplaceable" in any existing facilities except State hospitals or correctional institutions.

Treatment Programs - RTF and School

The Aichhorn Center currently operates two residential service programs in New York City, as well as the Aichhorn School, located in the RTFs.  The RTF-Manhattan is in the Manhattan Valley neighborhood near Central Park and Columbia University.   The RTF-Brooklyn is located in the Weeksville section of Brooklyn. 

For more information about various aspects of these programs, please go to our programs.

Policy Issues

We want to use our operating programs as models for development and testing of various organizational and instructional ideas.  We are eager to share what we have learned, what we believe will work or not work in the future, and our thoughts and questions about unresolved issues in residential care--including whether it has any place at all in the range of psychiatric services for teenagers.  We post discussions of various current issues in the section on ideas and issues.   Currently, this section contains summaries, and links to more complete discussions on maintaining safety in the RTF (a topic made timely by the several serious  attacks on at various facilities), follow-up of residents discharged from the RTF, and  Federal regulations on the use of "seclusion" and "restraint" in residential treatment facilities.  In operating our programs, we place great emphasis on encouraging free discussion among staff and residents.  This is important partly because we want to encourage verbal rather than physical disagreement, and partly because we genuinely believe that we do not yet have definitive answers to many problems in our field, and we can actually learn from each other.  In that spirit, we are also very interested in responses to our ideas from interested people we have not yet met.  If you have a comment or question about our comments, we would be very glad to hear from you. We are currently still developing this web site, and particularly welcome any ideas on areas that should be included.  If you are looking for something here that you don't find, please let us know.

Contacts and Employment

If you are interested in working directly with us, please check the join us section.  We post there specific positions we may be seeking to fill at any time, as well as some notes on general categories of applicants we are always interested in meeting.  To inquire further or comment on any aspect of our presentation here, or if you want to reach any particular person or department at Aichhorn for any reason, please check the contact us section.
LINKS -- Aichhorn as others see us New York Magazine ran a brief article on the Aichhorn Center and our RTF in June, 1999.

Dr. Michael Pawel, Aichhorn's Executive Director, questioned a review entitled "Killer Children," in a letter published by The New York Review in December, 1999.

Fox Butterfield, discussing mentally ill teenagers in the juvenile justice system, referred to the Aichhorn Center in his New York Times article of December 5, 2000.

The unexamined psychological issues fueling widespread political disapproval of all group child care are discussed in an essay from by Dr. Pawel published in The Humanist. [Note: downloading this item costs $2.95.]

Dr. Pawel reviews a description of the Broward County Mental Health Court, suggesting that it seems to represent the criminal justice system's recognition that many chronic psychiatric patients will not be treated by the mental health system.   The Forensic Echo .
Child Welfare Watch, Summer, 2009, in a longer article about the difficulties of securing long-term psychiatric care for very disturbed children in the foster care system, includes photos of an alumni reunion, and a discussion of the Aichhorn RTF's outcome study.  See "A Revolving Door of Care," page 20 of the pdf file.
The background of an RTF resident forms the basis for an extended discussion of the scarcity of resources for mentally ill teenagers in the juvenile justice system in the Fall, 2009 issue of Child Welfare Watch.  See "Where the Sick Get Sicker," page 5 of the pdf file.

Another former resident was interviewed in the NY Times neighborhood section.

In 2011, Child Welfare Watch outlined plans for the RTF-Brooklyn.  click here .   Kendra Hurley followed up a year later when the facility opened. click here

Another former resident's memoirs.  Not entirely complimentary, but ...   Yaselin

The Lancet
describes the new RTF-Brooklyn in Rethinking Mental Health Care for Young Offenders.

An excerpt from the Report of the Governor's Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice endorses the RTF-Brooklyn model.


[revised 10/1/19]