Innovative Intensive Therapy Program Welcomes Adoptive & Foster Care Families in Montgomery County & Lehigh Valley

FosterCareAdoptions-870x665Enrollment Applications Being Accepted for Families with Children Ages 3 – 7

ALLENTOWN, PA – The Salvation Army Children’s Services has launched a new intensive therapy program designed to meet the unique and diverse needs of children in foster care, children that have been adopted, or children that exhibit difficulty in the area of attachment. The HALO (Healing, Attachment, Loving, Outreach) Project is a 10-week intensive outpatient intervention, originally pioneered in Oklahoma, and the only one of its kind across our region.

Since 1915, The Salvation Army Children’s Services has been connecting children with safe, loving, and caring homes and families across the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys, through temporary foster care as well as permanent adoption.

Children and youth who have experienced foster care have often experienced complex developmental trauma, resulting in psychological and behavioral issues. The HALO Project utilizes the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI © ) therapeutic model created by Dr. Karen Purvis and Dr. David Cross at Texas Christian University Institute of Child Development, which trains caregivers to provide effective support and treatment for at-risk children. It has been successfully applied in foster and adoptive homes, schools, courts, residential treatment facilities, group homes and churches.

Since 2013, the HALO Project of Oklahoma has produced impressive results, with participating parents reporting a decrease in relational frustration with their child, and an increase in attachment, parenting confidence, and involvement. Parents also reported a decrease in problematic behaviors in their children and reported less frustration with the problematic behaviors. Overall, all families who completed the HALO Project reporting an increase in compassion and understanding of their child and their unique history.

The Salvation Army Children’s Services has partnered with the HALO Project of Oklahoma to bring the program to Eastern Pennsylvania. It is the first time the HALO Project has been replicated outside of Oklahoma.

Susan and Harold Guntz, of Montgomery County, fostered and adopted two sisters that had been through a great deal of trauma in their young lives.  The family enrolled in The Salvation Army’s HALO Project in spring 2018.

“We are so pleased to say that even after our first week at HALO, we began to see a slight difference. Not only were we learning to parent in a new and effective way, our child was learning a new language that included ‘stick together,’ ‘no hurts,’ ‘permission and supervision,’ asking for a ‘compromise,’ and asking for a ‘do over,’” Susan Guntz shared. “All of these things were taught while giving our child a feeling of safety and being cared about.   By the end of the ten weeks we were seeing such changes in our home as less screaming and crying, accepting ‘no’ and much less separation anxiety. We believe that this program was responsible for permanently changing the course of our lives in terms of how we parent and consequently changed our daughter’s life. We highly recommend this program to anyone that is parenting children that have had trauma in their lives, and we encourage the support of this program.”

Families participating in the program will experience:

  • A 10 week intensive intervention program for foster families and/or families that have adopted.
  • 10 Trauma Education Classes (TEC) for parents focusing on neurochemistry related to trauma, sensory processing, behavior modification, and attachment theory and principles.
  • Parent support group with the other parents in the program (facilitated by a clinician).
  • Parent experiential sessions in which parents learn and practice play therapy techniques and scripts designed for empowering, connecting and correcting based on TBRI®.
  • Social group activities, nurture groups and play groups for the children featuring sensory rich, attachment rich activities (i.e. HALO Kids Club).
  • The use of volunteer “buddies” to model adaptive behaviors and pro-social communication.
  • Intensive individual and family therapy.
  • Occupational Therapy (as needed).
  • Comprehensive assessment and evaluation.
  • Speech Therapy (as needed).
  • Follow up therapeutic services following completion of the program (as needed).
The Salvation Army Children’s Services is currently accepting applications for families with children ages 3 to 7, who have been adopted or are in foster care, and reside in the Lehigh Valley or in Montgomery County.

The next ten week session for Lehigh Valley families will start on Monday, September 17, 6pm – 8pm, at Faith Church in Allentown.

Montgomery County families will start on Thursday September 27, 6pm – 8pm, at Salford Mennonite Church in Harleysville.

An intake appointment with The Salvation Army Children’s Services is required before attending The HALO Project classes. Attendance at all classes within the ten week session is mandatory for completion.

For more information about The HALO Project or The Salvation Army Children’s Services, go to or or call 610-821-7706.

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware is a faith-based, comprehensive human service organization whose programs help individuals, families and whole communities lead healthier, safer and more productive lives. Since 1879, The Army has held a record of accomplishment stemming from its holistic approach to providing for the needs of the whole individual – physically, emotionally, economically and spiritually. The Army’s programming serves every zip code through 51 community centers and a network of volunteers throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Delaware. Programs and services include: shelter, hot meals, counseling, early childhood development, recreational opportunities, music programs, after-school arts and educational programs, job training, activities for older adults, spiritual development, and drug rehabilitation.

Mission Statement: The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

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