"Kurn Hattin was like home" : exploring the experiences of former resident students of a private, charitable, therapeutic children's home and junior boarding school

Felicia Sevene, Smith College

v, 163 pages : illustrations. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 130-138)


This study was undertaken to determine how attending a private, therapeutic children's home/junior boarding school impacted the lives of former resident students, emotionally, socially, and educationally, and to compare those experiences to those of children who have lived in foster care. A recruitment flyer was posted on the Alumni of Kurn Hattin Homes Facebook page, and ultimately, six subjects who had lived at the homes and school for at least two years were interviewed about their experiences. Subjects were asked to describe the reason for attending, their experiences of separation from their families, the ways they coped with their feelings, what factors or interventions were most helpful or unhelpful to them while at the homes and school, and whether they were still in contact with anyone from the school today. Finally, they were asked if they had ever lived in foster care and if so, what their experiences had been. The findings of this study suggested that former resident students lives were impacted both positively and negatively by their attendance at the school. Though separation from family was traumatic for most subjects, after adjusting to the new environment they described positive experiences: close relationships with staff and peers that created a feeling of family, increased feelings of confidence and self-esteem, and a positive academic experience.