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What's New at KidsPeace

News and Notes from KidsPeace


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New Executive Team Leads Efforts

KidsPeace announced today that it is undergoing a transformation of its structure and programs to optimize care for the children and families it serves by positioning itself ahead of the ever-changing health care industry.

Launching initially in its Pennsylvania hospital and residential care facilities in Orefield and Bethlehem, the transformation will eventually take place in KidsPeace programs in the other 11 states where it delivers services.

The 128-year-old healthcare organization will move from utilizing a behavioral care model to a clinical care model, enabling teams of medical professionals to not only treat behaviors, but to research and treat the source of why the behaviors are taking place.

Focusing on the strength and resilience of clients and families, KidsPeace is committed to the use of evidence-based clinical practices to foster a continuous learning cycle, building upon family and community supports. Treatment involves active engagement of and direction by the client, family and community mentors and is delivered by a team including psychiatrists, social workers, mental health nurses, expressive therapists, educators and childcare counselors.

“This is a process of redefining the way we provide support and treatment to the children, young adults and families in our care,” explains William Isemann, KidsPeace President and CEO. “This new well integrated, multidisciplinary approach will incorporate the highest levels of performance in safety, outcomes, customer service, initiative, staff competency, structure and communication.”

KidsPeace operates an 80-bed psychiatric hospital and residential facilities for 288 children from 6 to 21-years of age at its Orefield and Bethlehem campuses. The process began within the hospital and is rolling out to the residential programs over the next few months.

To achieve this approach to care, KidsPeace is establishing a new framework whereby a five-person, multi-disciplinary professional team will be on site where the child is living to provide a therapeutic community.

Susan Mullen, Vice President for PA Residential and Hospital Programs, says the new approach requires clinical expertise, intellectual curiosity and an interest in evidence-based outcomes and treatment.

“Within the therapeutic environment, we will provide childcare counselors, creative therapists, registered nurses and social workers, to deliver care driven by needs of the client and their families and integrating community supports under the guidance of a psychiatrist,” Mullen said. “Through a therapeutic alliance with the client and family, a treatment plan is developed drawing upon the client’s natural supports promoting successful progression to a lesser level of care and return to family and community support systems as soon as possible.”

Mullen, who holds an undergraduate degree in education from Virginia Intermont College and a master’s in healthcare administration from Bellevue University, is also a registered nurse. Leading a newly appointed program team that is managing the transformation and care going forward, Mullen has more than 13 years experience with KidsPeace.

Barbara A. Hacker, RN, Med, NHA, CPHRM, has been named Executive Director of KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital and PA Nursing Services. Hacker, who formerly served as chief of hospital operations at St. John Vianney Center, Downingtown, holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from Temple University. She also attended the Wharton School of Business for financial management for nurse executives and is a certified Polaris, Inc. national health care consultant and seminar speaker. Hacker also formerly served as Vice President of Clinical Services at both Lehigh Valley Hospital Center and the Albert Einstein Medical Center.

Brian Hemmert, MS, has been appointed the Executive Director of PA Residential and Education Programs. Hemmert, who most recently served as CEO of the Jefferson Trail Treatment Center, Charlottesville, VA, received his under- and post-graduate degrees from the University of Dayton. He has extensive experience in program design and oversight and is a strong advocate of family involvement and child centered strength-based programming.

Gloria Ritacco-Stewart, MSW, has been named Director of Clinical Consultative Services. With experience in outpatient, inpatient and partial hospital settings, Ritacco-Stewart’s most recent position was Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Outpatient Department for Trinitas Hospital, Elizabeth, NJ. She holds an undergraduate degree from Trenton State College and a Master’s in social work from Rutgers University.

About KidsPeace

Founded in 1882, KidsPeace is dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, preadolescents, teens and young adults, offering a comprehensive range of residential treatment programs; accredited educational services; and a variety of foster care and community-based treatment programs to give hope, help and healing to children, families and communities. KidsPeace offers services in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The Joint Commission accredits KidsPeace programs in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Educational accreditations include the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation.

KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital Now Offers Direct Admission

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KidsPeace has been providing services to children and teens in the Lehigh Valley since 1882. To streamline the process of admitting children, teens and young adults to the KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital, the nonprofit organization now offers Direct Admission to the Hospital for clients who meet direct admit requirements. In many cases, this new process may eliminate long emergency room waits and allow clients to come directly to the Psychiatric Hospital in Orefield, PA.

Parents, pediatricians, family practioners and counselors may now call the KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital directly to receive telephone screening and pre-certification for admission. If the youth meets admission criteria, the youth will be given an appointment to come directly to the Psychiatric Hospital for admission completion. The Psychiatric Hospital serves males and females ages 4 to 21 who require acute care in an intensive, secure, safe setting that will stabilize presenting problems.

Admitted clients include individuals who have been evaluated by a private therapist, physician or school counselor and deemed in need of Inpatient treatment. KidsPeace screens these individuals to ensure that they are not under the influence of substances and are not in need of significant medical treatment. If the youth cannot be admitted, KidsPeace staff will discuss alternative treatment options with the family. In some cases, families will be directed to visit an emergency room for evaluation prior to coming to KidsPeace.

This new admission process will lead to smoother, more efficient acceptance to the KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital and allow many clients to be come directly to KidsPeace in times of crisis. Please be sure to call KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital before coming to the facility. For more information, please contact the Admissions Staff of the KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital at 610-799-8990.

KidsPeace Team Raises Money for Autism Speaks

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Saturday, April 17, was a day of diverse community members coming together for one great purpose -- to raise funds to support Autism Speaks and raise public awareness of the growing number of autistic children being diagnosed in our neighborhoods, states and nation. KidsPeace's "KidsPeace Kares" team was the largest in the group of walkers, consisting 150 associates from our Community Autism Services, executive and residential departments, as well as children who receive outpatient and residential services from KidsPeace in the Lehigh Valley. Disc jockeys from local radio station WLEV walked on the KidsPeace team, as did parents of children in our programs. We raised more than $3,000 so far, but more donations will be coming in until August. Colorful shirts identified the KidsPeace team members, and the spirit and camaraderie of our group was palpable and exciting to behold. A big thank you to all who participated and to all who donated to make our efforts so successful.

Autism Walk Team


KidsPeace CFO/Treasurer Tim Richards joins Rob Harvey and Paige Keeter from Autism Services to walk with KidsPeace team






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OREFIELD, April 13, 2010 – Nearly 100 KidsPeace employees, families, clients and friends will make up the “KidsPeace Kares Team” in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks event this Saturday in Allentown’s Lehigh Parkway. 

KidsPeace has participated with a team since the walk was launched in the Lehigh Valley three years ago.  Individuals are securing pledges to walk in the event and the team raised more than $300 toward the cause during a recent hoagie sale.

KidsPeace provides community autism services in the Lehigh Valley and also conducts “Sarah Smiles,” a summer day camp for Lehigh Valley children with autism.

“Our employees are very excited about participating,” said Paige Keeter, Program Manager, Autism Community Services for KidsPeace, and team director.  “ Walking with some of our clients and their families will make our efforts especially meaningful.” Keeter added that this year’s team will also be joined by several on-air personalities from WLEV 100.7 FM.

To support the KidsPeace effort, visit and locate the “KidsPeace Kares Team” button. 


KidsPeace Raffle Grand Prize a New Car

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KidsPeace is celebrating its 25th Annual Golf Tournament on June 21 in a big way. In addition to wonderful prizes for golfers and a silent auction, KidsPeace is sponsoring an exciting raffle that is open to anyone who wishes to purchase a ticket. Only 500 tickets are available, and the grand prize is a 2011 Silver Mini Cooper from Daniels BMW of Allentown.

The second prize is airfare and a hotel for two people in Rome, Italy, a $5,000 value courtesy of Lehigh Valley Racquet and 24-7 Fitness Clubs. The third prize is a diamond necklace worth $2,500 from Charles L. Boyer Jewelers and Lehigh Valley Jewelry & Exchange.

The fourth place prize is a Flat Screen television worth $1,000, and the fifth prize is a Spa Getaway Package to Bear Creek Mountain resort and Conference Center, a $550 value.

The cost of a raffle ticket is $100, and winners do not have to be present to win. However, even if you are not playing in the tournament, you are invited to attend the awards banquet at Lehigh Valley Country Club, where the winners of the raffle will be drawn.

The Best Part

The tournament will be a wonderful day, and the prizes are an exciting bonus, but the best part of the entire event is that the proceeds will go directly to the KidsPeace Children’s Fund, which helps the children, teens and young adults who receive services from KidsPeace. As always, our children are the focus and reason for everything we do at KidsPeace.

If you would like to purchase a raffle ticket, please contact Sheri Weber at:

KidsPeace, 4085 Independence Drive, Schnecksville, PA  18078, Phone: 610-799-8071 Fax: 610-799-7599 800-25-PEACE, ext. 8071 Cell: 484-788-9800,


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