THE COTTAGE SCHOOLS
Pleasantville Cottage School • Edenwald Center
Pleasantville START • Gateways program for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children
JCCA is one of the oldest and most respected providers of residential treatment care in New York City. We serve more than 325 boys and girls at The Cottage Schools, our 150-acre Westchester campus in Pleasantville, New York. The children, ages 7-21, live in 20 cottages, and are served by four distinctive programs: Pleasantville Cottage School, Edenwald Center, Pleasantville START, and Gateways. The campus has two special education schools run by the Mount Pleasant Union Free School District, a health center providing medical and dental services, a substance abuse clinic, a recreation center and gym, a swimming pool, and athletic fields.
Sometimes being placed in foster care with a family or foster parents is not the right choice for abused, neglected, or traumatized children. For them, residential care in a safe, supervised, nurturing setting is necessary to resolve their problems and continue their individual journeys toward permanency. Because of their difficulties, these children often need intensive support to learn how to behave and act in the world. Often they have poor social skills and are verbally or physically aggressive. The decision to place a child in residential care is not an easy one for the child or family, but it is sometimes necessary in order to provide the child with the comprehensive therapeutic support he or she needs.
JCCA’s Cottage Schools provide every child with an integrated interdisciplinary treatment team, consisting of social workers, mental health staff, child care staff, educators, medical professionals, and a recreation therapist.Working closely with the family, the team formulates individualized treatment plans that focus on the specific needs of each youth. The goal for these children is to provide them with safety, structure, and treatment, so that they can be reunited their families or placed with a new, loving family. As Richard Altman, JCCA’s Chief Executive Officer, says, “we take the poorest, most traumatized, and neediest children among us and help transform their lives.”
Stephanie Spiegel, a Westchester resident and Campus volunteer, founded an annual fundraiser, "A Tree Grows in Pleasantville," that supports The Cottage Schools. She says that all who attend “are struck by how 300 children are living in direct contrast to how our own children are living. Our children, for the most part, grow up in stable homes, with love and caring, and with their physical and emotional needs met.These children come from extreme poverty, abuse, and neglect, and are often traumatized.”
The Cottage Schools comprise four residential programs that serve children at severe risk:
- Pleasantville Cottage School is a program that serves children with long-term emotional and behavioral challenges
- Edenwald Center serves children who have low IQs, autism, and other developmental disorders
- Pleasantville START serves children who need assessment, residential treatment, and intensive intervention for a short period of time
- Gateways serves girls who have been the victims of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking