Dover Children’s Home and The Chase Home collaborate to enhance services for youth

Blog > Dover Children’s Home and The Chase Home collaborate to enhance services for youth
chase home employees with masks on

Each committed to meeting the needs of at-risk youth, nonprofit agencies Dover Children’s Home and The Chase Home will complete Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) training at the end of October.

According to Renee Touhey-Childress, executive director of Dover Children’s Home, staff are beginning to utilize the TBRI framework in their everyday work with youth after just one training session.

“Even our administrative and support staff are being trained on the overarching concepts of building relationships as a way to work with our youth,” she explained.

To complete the training, all staff at each agency must attend four 6-hour sessions.

Renee Touhey-Childress (left), Executive Director of Dover Children’s Home with
Meme Wheeler, Executive Director of The Chase Home

“Renee and I are both thrilled at the commitment of our staff,” said Meme Wheeler, executive director of The Chase Home. “This is a significant investment in not just resources, but time.”

As for what is covered in the training, Melissa LaRocque, quality improvement specialist at Dover Children’s Home, said it is based around three primary concepts.

“The first is a heavy focus on the changes in the developmental brain as a response to trauma during infancy and early childhood,” she explained. “Our role as caregivers is healing these fractured attachments.”

Other focus areas include helping empower youth in a way that maximizes their potential for success and equipping staff to focus on the underlying needs that drive their respective behaviors.

“I am hopeful the training will help our program continue to strengthen the relationships we have with our youth,” added LaRocque. “I also believe we will see less behavioral outbursts as we as a staff shift in our language and responses to our kids.”

Wheeler agreed and said the training represents an important step in both organization’s efforts toward accreditation, mandated by 2018’s The Family First Prevention Services Act.

“Trauma-informed services must be embedded in both of our service delivery models,” she explained. “I think TBRI is fantastic and will make a big impact in how we both interact and support our kids.”

Meg O’Connor, Founder of The Connected Elephant

Meg O’Connor, who is facilitating the inter-agency training, said TBRI will strengthen the effectiveness of services at both agencies.

“Based on years of attachment, trauma, and neuroscience research, TBRI works to promote trust, attachment, and connection between caregivers and youth by addressing physical and emotional needs while also disarming fear-based behaviors,” she said. 

With TBRI, she said both agencies will increase their knowledge on “the devastating impact of trauma.”

“Each agency will continue to sharpen their tools and remain the greatest advocates for the youth they serve,” added O’Connor, who is founder of The Connected Elephant.

In sharing the costs of the training, Touhey-Childress said both agencies were able to “stretch limited resources.” 

“Meme and I work collaboratively on so many things, and our staff have similarities and shared experiences,” she said. “This just made sense, logistically and clinically in terms of learning from each other.”

Since 1893, Dover Children’s Home has provided a home for adolescents in need, preparing them for their futures, and reuniting families. To learn more, visit

Founded in 1877, The Chase Home in Portsmouth serves at-risk youth statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at The Chase Home.