Therapeutic Recreation


Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky offers therapeutic recreation to all kids participating in our residential treatment services, as well as students attending our therapeutic day school. What is “therapeutic recreation?” In short, it’s playing with a purpose.

The primary purpose of the program is to help kids in treatment learn how to positively engage in a variety of social settings while managing the symptoms of their specific behavioral health diagnoses. Studies show that this type of therapy can restore and/or mend functioning, behaviors, and independence while also reducing or eliminating the effects of trauma.

Each kid in treatment completes an assessment to identify leisure interests, personal strengths, and areas for improvement. The information we gather helps us to assign specific, individualized goals to be addressed with each kid through the therapeutic recreation group of his or her choice. By offering choice, our kids are empowered to lead and direct their own treatment.

Therapeutic recreation sets CHNK apart from many similar residential facilities. Since this form of therapy isn’t mandated by the state of Kentucky, most group homes don’t offer it – even though it’s been a recognized form of health care for over four decades!

CHNK employs a full-time Recreation Therapist who designs and manages all facets of the therapeutic recreation program. Our therapeutic recreation program is made up of a variety of modules (i.e., group sessions) that run for approximately 8 – 12 weeks at a time; each group may have as many as six cycles per year. Cycles vary based on length, indoor vs. outdoor environment, the school year, and cost. Groups that are frequently offered at CHNK include:

  • Adventure-Based Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Circus Therapy
  • Cooking Therapy
  • Equine Therapy
  • Pet-Assisted Therapy
  • Therapeutic Drumming
  • Therapeutic Gardening

On average, 300 youth participate in and benefit from our therapeutic recreation program each year.

Sara Warner, MA, CTRS

Sara Warner, MA, CTRS

Recreation Therapist