Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center

Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center’s goal is to partner with youth, families and communities to build strengths that result in an enduring experience of belonging and well-being.

Founded as an orphanage in 1873, Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center has evolved into a highly-specialized residential treatment center for youth ages 6 – 18 who have experienced multiple complex traumas and have struggled in open-community settings. For more than 50 years, we have employed state-of-the-art treatment approaches and provided innovative services. Our comprehensive and compassionate treatment approach is designed to help each youth resume family and community living as soon as possible.

The goal is to develop resilient youth who have the ability to succeed within our program and more importantly, in the communities to which they will return. During the short time we have with youth and their families, our focus is on helping them develop the skills that will give them the greatest opportunity to succeed. This success is based on positive, trustful relationships staff members develop with youth and families, as well as the highly-structured environment. Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center also identifies and develops support systems for youth and their families to use when they transition back to the community.

Intake and eligibility

Youth eligible for Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center’s program are girls and boys ages 6–18. Common diagnoses include post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, ADHD and attachment disorder. Careful consideration is given to align each youth’s needs with a unit that is best suited to his/her needs. Intake staff members at the residential program work closely with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Illinois Department of Human Services, schools, juvenile justice system, parents and private insurance referral sources to make prompt and appropriate intake decisions. Intake staff can also be a helpful resource for those who are considering residential treatment.

For more information, contact us at:

Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center

343 W. Lake Street
Addison, IL 60101
Phone: 630-543-6900
Fax: 630-543-7910

At Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center, youth and families’ unique trauma narratives are attended to, and their perspectives are the focus of the work we do. Our staff are attuned to the triggers associated with the experience of trauma and create a treatment environment that addresses these needs.

Key services offered by Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center include:

  • Therapy in a group-living context
  • Individual, family and group counseling
  • Special education
  • Recreational and expressive therapies
  • Life-skills development
  • Medical services
  • Religious activities
  • Psychiatric care
  • Foster care

Youth Empowerment and Youth Council

In order to ensure services provided by Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center are youth-guided, the Lutherbrook Empowerment and Youth Council were developed. The mission of the group is to promote the empowerment of youth at the residential facility by having a forum in which the voice of youth is valued and heard, contributing to our growth as a caring community.

The means by which the youth council accomplish the shared goal of promoting the voice of youth at Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center:

  • Learn how to better solve problems and resolve conflicts.
  • Listen to outside speakers on topics of interest.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of the residential treatment program and work together to find constructive solutions.
  • Celebrate one another’s accomplishments and support one another through challenging times.
  • Minutes of every council meeting are circulated to supervisors and posted in each cottage by youth-council members.
  • Youth-council members have a weekly time where they share the activities of the youth-council and engage other cottage members in identifying issues that are brought to the council.

Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center strives to develop resilient youth who have the ability to succeed within our program and more importantly, in the communities to which they will return.


Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center is situated on sixteen acres in Addison, Illinois and accessible from Chicago via public transportation and I-290. The residential treatment program provides a quality living environment for 56 youth. The main building houses four cottages as well as:

  • Central Dining Room
  • Gymnasium
  • Chapel/library
  • Counseling and administrative offices

Collins Group Home and Harmony House are separate structures, which provide a more community-based experience for the youth who live there. Recreational facilities include:

  • Playgrounds
  • Baseball field
  • Bike path
  • Basketball/tennis court
  • Volleyball court

The mission of the Clinical department’s Expressive Therapies at Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center is to facilitate and encourage the highest quality of trauma-informed treatment services to youth. This treatment is accomplished through a goal-directed, safe and intensive program that focuses on enhancing, enriching and promoting cognitive, physical, emotional and spiritual healing for growth and progress towards youths’ individualized treatment goals. The expressive therapies are an action-oriented, trauma-informed treatment approach that utilizes and collaborates with other clinical and recreational programming to provide the most unique and evidenced-based, trauma-informed treatment possible.

Expressive therapies are clinical modalities and interventions not just recreational activities that the youth participate in. Lutherbrook upholds the ethical standards of both the American Dance Therapy Association and the Art Therapy Association and has board-certified and registered expressive therapists on staff.

Clinical and recreational services include:

Art therapy

Art therapy utilizes the creative art-making process such as drawing, painting, collage and 3-D construction among others, as an alternative modality for self-expression, emotional insight and personal growth.

Within individual and/or group sessions youth are challenged to practice the skills necessary to meet therapeutic goals by engaging in art materials, creative expression and art projects. Art therapy can assist in developing or enhancing skills including problem solving, identification and expression of thoughts and feelings, emotion regulation, cognitive flexibility and social interaction/relationship building. Each art process poses problems to solve, frustration to balance, interpersonal collaboration to navigate and metaphors to employ. Art therapy enlists the youth as a co-creator in the therapeutic process, allowing for an environment of safety and trust.

Dance/movement therapy

Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) works to connect body and mind in a way that fosters healing and growth within an individual. Within a residential-treatment facility, DMT offers youth alternative ways to express, explore and gain insight about themselves that helps facilitate self-expression, as well as offer creative strategies into behavior modification and learning effective coping skills.

The dance/movement therapist both observes and intervenes through movement. As many youth within the residential setting have experienced traumatic events at some point in their young lives, DMT offers a unique approach to working with trauma as it works directly with the body, where trauma can often be stored. By facilitating safe and healthy experiences that include the body, youth increase both their cognitive and emotional awareness and tolerance of past traumas, which then allow emotional processing to work toward healing.

Youth are referred to DMT to address various goals including, but not limited to, increasing self-esteem, increasing impulse control, decreasing aggressive responses and learning new coping skills, such as deep breathing to help the client cope successfully. DMT has been effective for children in emotional and physical development and growth.

Animal-assisted therapy

Animal–assisted therapy is the utilization of animals as a therapeutic modality to facilitate healing and enhance the human-animal bond where the animal is an integral part of the treatment process. Paws-II-Hands was established in 2009 and is a nine-week individualized short-term treatment goal program that focuses on promoting cognitive, physical, emotional and spiritual healing for growth and progress towards a youth’s individual long-term treatment goals.

The animal-assisted certified clinician focuses on establishing realistic individual goals that surround appropriate touch and boundaries as well as individual expectations to measure performance in specific areas of youth functioning and behavior within trauma domains. These sessions provide means to measure youth change to reflect and enhance self-esteem and self-worth while assisting reflective trauma work that involves tactile means. Each nine-week treatment program concludes in not only short-term treatment goals being attained, but each youth receives a picture of his/her therapy animal, a certification of completion and a chance to share with peers and staff what has been learned and/or experienced through a youth-designed presentation.

Therapeutic recreation

These treatment services are specifically designed and coordinated to meet the individualized treatment goals of each youth. The Clinical department also provides music-therapy influences in the “Lutherbrook Lites,” a youth singing group that performs in the community.

Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center’s transition planning and aftercare services engage youth, families and communities in a collaborative process ensuring that gains made in placement are part of a continuum of growth.

Foster-care staff are located on campus in the Seegers Center and work closely with the residential treatment staff prior to a youth being ready for discharge to help facilitate a smooth transition process. In a collaborative process, all parties work together to identify and prepare the best possible next placement for a youth ready to transition out of residential care.

Aftercare services have been shown to have positive outcomes in placement stabilization and consolidation of gains made in residential care. Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center contributes to the post-discharge success and stabilization of youth by providing aftercare services when possible to all youth who step down from our residential treatment program to a less-restrictive environment. These services are provided consistent with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ transition and discharge protocol. For youth who are not placed by DCFS, we are also invested in providing aftercare services and will work in each case with the placement resource to identify pathways to aftercare service provision.


Collins Group Home, one of the services provided by Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center, was developed to provide care for youth who are ready for a less-structured setting and more community-based activities (e.g., school, recreation, work). The group home is a building located adjacent to the Addison community and is separated from the main residential-treatment facility.

Services are provided to male youth ranging in age from 13 to 18 at the time of admission to the program. A total of nine youth can be served at any one time. The program’s goal is to help a youth achieve a level of functioning that will enable him/her to resume family and community living as soon as possible. To achieve this goal, comprehensive care and treatment is provided in a home-like setting. Individual counseling is provided for each youth in addition to family and group counseling.

With guidance, the youth also have the opportunity to learn life skills and independent living skills such as cooking and cleaning, chores similar to those carried out by youth living in their own homes. These activities help the youth meet many developmental needs such as a sense of belonging and security. Families play a key role in the therapeutic process by participating in family counseling and assisting the staff in the understanding of a youth’s behavior. Parents are encouraged to maintain contact through letters, phone calls and visits to the home.

Assisting youth to transition to independence

Independence-living training services are provided to youth age 16 and over. The professional staff works with them in a variety of ways, including:

  • Determining and developing relationships to promote personal self-esteem
  • Understanding and dealing with peer pressure; learning to make own decisions
  • Developing personal standards of hygiene
  • Becoming educated regarding drug abuse
  • Developing planning and organizational skills
  • Learning budget and money-management skills
  • Recognizing home-safety procedures
  • Understanding the need for and obtaining vocational training
  • Learning about human sexuality
  • Receiving information about sexually-transmitted diseases and birth control
  • Learning social skills for community living

Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center believes that community support and involvement is an important part of treatment.

Lutherbrook Child and Adolescent Center has been embraced by the Village of Addison, meaning the youth are viewed as valued assets to the community. Not only do the youth attend local schools, but they also make use of many community-based resources including the library, park district, employment, sports and shopping. The youth have a positive relationship with the Addison Police and Fire Departments. They enjoy participating in activities and sporting games together.

Youth also give back to the local community by volunteering. They have taken part in such activities as park district clean-up days and serving at pancake breakfast fundraisers.

The residential program also feels it is important to connect with the communities that the youth come from and will return to. We strive to help youth and families learn what systems of care and resources are available to them in their local communities. These resources can range from how to sign-up for park district activities to what family counseling resources are available. By developing vibrant and supportive connections within their own communities, families and youth are positioned for on-going success upon their return home.

Community Program Council

The Lutherbrook Community Program Council (CPC) is a group designed to make connections between all the programs on the Lutherbrook campus and the people, associations, businesses and institutions within the local community. The CPC acts as a sounding board for Lutherbrook, providing advice and perspective. It challenges and identifies ways for Lutherbrook to be more community-connected. The CPC is made up of youth and family members who have used Lutherbrook services, staff members (paid and volunteer) and other community members who believe in our mission.