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OUR VISION

All children will thrive in their family, school, and community.

OUR MISSION

Walker transforms the lives of children and youth who are facing complex emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges by partnering with these children and youth, their families, and communities to nurture hope, build strengths, and develop lifelong skills.

CORE VALUES

Child Centered & Family Driven
Safety
Respect
Strengths-based
Excellence
Continuous Learning

GUIDING BELIEFS

Child Centered & Family Driven
We believe that…

  • Belonging to a family is central to a child’s identity, well-being, and healthy future.
  • Every child has the right to enjoy a full life as a member of a family.
  • Healing, learning, and building hope are best accomplished in the context of family with supportive lifelong relationships.
  • Fundamental to our partnership work is supporting existing families or helping to create a new permanent family for all children.
  • Genuine partnering with family members, including children, is critical to setting realistic goals, measuring progress, and achieving positive outcomes.
  • Family members have valuable and essential expertise that informs all planning and decisions for children.

Safety 
We believe that…

  • Every person has a right to live, work, and learn in an emotionally and physically safe environment
  • Preventing unsafe situations is our first responsibility.
  • We are responsible for building a culture of safety where children and their families can develop skills and strategies to safely manage times of crisis  or distress.
  • Involving children, family members, and staff in thoughtful discussions following a dangerous situation will result in learning, minimize trauma, and increase safe behaviors in the future.

Respect
We believe that…

  • Every person has a right to live, work, and learn in an emotionally and physically safe environment
  • Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • We must respect and value the many different ways of creating a family; families have a right to mutually define their members, and to have unique traditions, cultural practices, language, and religious traditions.
  • We must be committed to creating an inclusive learning and work environment that celebrates diversity and strives for cultural proficiency and responsiveness.
  • We must treat everyone with fairness and honesty.
  • Different perspectives and shared solutions lead to the most effective outcomes.

Strengths-based
We believe that…

  • Every child and family has the right to an individualized plan that reflects their natural strengths, resiliency, and unique needs.
  • Everyone deserves to have their strengths acknowledged in meaningful ways that use these as resources for learning, achieving their potential, and  meeting challenges.
  • A child's capacity to live and learn in a home community is best supported by the family’s ability to build on strengths and resources, as well as a network of natural and community supports.

Excellence
We believe that…

  • Change, growth, and success are possible for all children and families.
  • We always strive for the highest quality in all that we undertake, because children and their families deserve our best.
  • Finding effective, innovative, and creative ways to deal with even the most complex challenges is at the core of our work.
  • We must constantly challenge our assumptions and approaches to help children and families change their lives.

Continuous Learning
We believe that…

  • The process of continuous learning results in children and their families increasing their capacity to meet their own goals.
  • Opportunities for self-reflection and shared learning should be accessible to all students, families, staff, and community partners.
  • We must encourage and support innovation and be rigorous in evaluating its outcomes, using ongoing assessment and data to guide teaching and  foster learning.
  • We must celebrate successes and share growth with others.
  • To support widespread professional and program improvements, the results of our continual learning must be shared broadly with communities of professionals, youth and family members, and public policy leaders.

THE OTHER 23 HOURS: THEN AND NOW

On October 12, 2010, more than 200 professionals from the fields of residential child care and special education gathered in Wellesley, Massachusetts for a professional symposium and day of learning. The Other 23 Hours: Then and Now was presented by Walker in celebration of 50 Years of helping children and their families “find better ways.” Co-authors Larry Brendtro, Ph.D., and James Whittaker, Ph.D, were joined by Robbie Gilligan, Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, as we revisited the animating ideas that inspired a generation of therapeutic child care professionals, ideas that continue to provide the blueprint for teaching competence to troubled children and youth. Workshop presenters included Richard W. Small, Ph. D., Executive Director at Walker, Martha Holden, Director of the Residential Child Care Project, Cornell University, and Elizabeth Tracy, Ph.D., Grace Longwell Coyle Professor of Social Work, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University.