Specialized Treatment Programs

Vista Maria’s specialized intensive residential treatment programs for adolescent girls are operated from our 37-acre Dearborn Heights campus. All programs have access to support services including a health clinic, an on-site junior and senior high school operated by the Clara B. Ford Academy, a large cafeteria, recreational facilities, meeting rooms, a chapel, and administrative offices. We recently added two new state-of-the-art mental health buildings to address the growing need for mental health care for girls. Our campus can accommodate 165 clients at any given time. Click here to learn more.

For more information about our residential programs please contact our Intake Department at (313) 271-3050 x360. You can also send an email to the Vista Maria Intake Department at

Please note: Vista Maria’s residential treatment programs are not able to accept private referrals (i.e. from parents, other family members, or schools), unless you are an adoptive parent with approval from Adoption Subsidy in Lansing. If you are seeking help for your daughter and she is not currently involved in the court system, please contact the United Way of Southeastern Michigan’s Helpline at 211 or (800) 552-1183 or your local Community Mental Health agency.

Community Based Programs

Vista Maria’s community-based programs provide services for high-risk girls and boys in their home communities. We offer services to the youth and their families and are dedicated to teaching personal responsibility and communication skills, providing educational assessment and planning, and helping with employment readiness. Our community-based program continuum includes:

General Foster Care

Is designed to provide month, case management services for Michigan children who have suffered abuse or neglect and are entering the system for the first time or have been moved from a more intensive program to prepare them for reunification with their birth parents or a permanent home.

Specialized Foster Care

For children in the child welfare system who have more specialized needs than children in general foster care. This program helps them prepare for reunification with their birth or adoptive parents, or placement in a permanent living arrangement. Treatment Foster Care provides the same services but for deliquent youth who are supervised by Wayne County Care Management Organizations.

Intensive Supportive Foster Care

For child welfare or delinquent children with severe emotional disturbances who may be exiting from a psychiatric hospital or residential program. We work with a collaborative partner to provide in-home services, training and support to the child, birth family and foster family to enable the child to thrive in the community.

Youth Assistance Program

A 10-week course for at-risk middle school aged children and their families living in the city of Dearborn Heights. The program offers individual and group sessions designed to improve social and conflict resolution skills and also prevent drug abuse and other behaviors that may lead to high school drop out.

For information on how to become a foster parent or to refer a child to a community-based program and services, please contact our recruiting hotline at (313) 240-4355.

Foster Care

Each year, there are over 12,000 foster children in Michigan, with nearly half of those children residing in the metro Detroit area. Children in foster care are no different from our own children. They need caring adults who will love, nurture, protect and inspire them to fulfill their dreams. Each foster child needs a family that is ready to commit to their success so that each child can grow and become self-sufficient.

  • Children are placed in foster care when their family is in crisis and their safety becomes a concern
  • Children are placed in a licensed home, and during this time services are provided to both children and family
  • Vista Maria needs licensed homes to take care of boys and girls between the ages of 0 – 17

If you would like to learn more about foster parenting contact us at (313) 240-4355 or email us at

Journey to Success

In 2011, Vista Maria developed a comprehensive after school program called Journey to Success (JTS).  Vista Maria’s JTS program addresses a variety of the following factors that impact at-risk youth:  high school dropout rates, less likely to attend college, more likely to experience homelessness, increased likelihood of incarceration and higher rates of teen pregnancy and substance abuse.  JTS provides youth with a safe, educational and non-judgmental environment to receive academic and emotional support from caring providers via a wrap-around service approach comprised of five unique program components designed to attract and retain youth.  The five components include:

  1. After School Activities offering enriching activities in the areas of Arts & Culture, Sport & Recreation, and Academic Enrichment including tutoring and homework help and in class support;
  2. DREAM is a group, site based mentoring program with focus in career exploration, career readiness, financial literacy and post-secondary planning.  DREAM provides youth a structured weekly program that incorporates adult mentors in a group setting.  Together, we engage youth in critical thinking, public speaking, problem solving, future planning and civic/community engagement activities.  DREAM students have attended college tours, career related workshops, and are involved in 4H Youth Governance that promotes volunteerism and improved self-esteem;
  3. Community Based Counseling allows youth and families to meet licensed counselors for individual, family and/or group counseling.  Topics for the teen group sessions include:  male/female responsibility, conflict resolution, substance abuse prevention, anger management, personal hygiene and etiquette;
  4. Transitional Residential Services for the clients in Vista Maria’s residential program offers a youth-focused, evidence-based model for improving outcomes for at-risk youth with emotional and behavioral difficulties (EBD) called Transition to Independence Planning (TIP).  This model is focused on strength assessments and futures planning, as well as skill building in decision making and understanding consequences; and
  5. JTS Educational Services, which places specially trained teaching assistants with in classrooms of the charter school, Clara B. Ford Academy.  The goal is to provide the extra support that many of the teachers and students need to quickly de-escalate negative behaviors, to remain focused and to complete an entire day of school.

The youth that have participated in these programs have increased their GPA on average of .5 In addition,100% of the youth we service through these programs have a functioning resume, a better understanding of finances, and have explored careers pathways based on their of interest. Almost all of the 2016 graduating seniors in our program are attending Henry Ford College, Western Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, and Michigan State University. Last summer for the third year in a row, Vista Maria received a grant from City Connect Detroit to employ 75 youth in all three tiers. The majority of the youth that participated during the first and second year of the program had returned for their third year in leadership positions. We anticipate having this trend continue this summer.

After filling out the enrollment form, please send it to

Shepherd Hall Transitional Living Program

Are you homeless? Have you recently aged out of the foster care system and have no place to go? Are you between the ages of 18-24 and in need of a supportive, independent living environment? Vista Maria can help.

Vista Maria’s Shepherd Hall Transitional Living Program provides an affordable 12-18 month program
that is geared towards helping you achieve the personal and financial independence you desire in a safe,
unique environment designed to put you on the path to success. As a residence of Shepherd Hall, you
will have Vista Maria’s many educational and career-focused opportunities at your disposal including:

  • Earning your high school diploma
  • Creating post secondary and vocational educational plan
  • Budgeting and banking
  • Cooking, nutrition, life skills
  • Relationship building
  • Physical and mental health
  • Resume and application assistance
  • Support in obtaining employment

It can often feel difficult to make a step in the right direction, which is why Vista Maria is here to help.

For more information, please contact Sharon Kurc at

Human Trafficking

With 100,000 children estimated to be in the sex trade industry in the United States, human trafficking generates billions of dollars.  The average age of a victim is 12-14 years old.

Human Trafficking is a form of modern day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. The U.S. federal anti-trafficking law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines human trafficking as:

The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for sex trafficking, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person is induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or, labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Perpetrators prey on the weak including teens that have dropped out of school, are in the foster care system or have run away from home. Human trafficking is a highly profitable and low risk crime. Traffickers target anyone, including children in their own communities. In Michigan, most times the victim is:

  • A girl or a young woman
  • Seen as commodities, as easy to recruit
  • Cheap to maintain and readily replaceable

To educate yourself more on human trafficking visit: