The mission of Plaid House is to provide residential and supportive services to adolescents. Plaid House teaches skills which foster positive growth, independence and family reunification.
before Christmas in 1970 Katharine Merck received a telephone
call from the Morris County Probation Department asking her
if she could take a seventeen year old girl into her home for
the holidays. They explained that the judge wanted to place
her in a residential treatment center but the center was going
to be closed over the holidays.
Plaid House Founder
she did not have a criminal history, the judge ordered her to
be placed in Clinton State Prison for Women if no alternative
placement could be found. Kate, therefore, took her into her
home for the holidays and learned about the plight of other
girls who were often left without a place to live. That led
Kate to decide to start a group home for girls in Morris County.
1975, the Plaid House group home
opened its doors to girls and began reweaving the lives
of young people into the fabric of society. The house
began with a capacity for five girls and was staffed by two
In the 1980s the number of girls at the group home expanded
to ten, the current number of residents. While the numbers increased
so did the complexity of the problems of the residents. As a
result, supervision was increased over time to a team of full-time
staff working twenty-four hours a day.
1989, after recognizing the particular difficulties of young
people who were expected to move out on their own at the age
of eighteen, Thenen House was opened.
Thenen House began as an independent living program providing
minimal supervision for four older girls who needed a supportive
place to live before going out on their own.
marked the start of the Aftercare Program,
designed to assist young people who are leaving placement either
to return home or move out on their own. In that same year the
Aging Out Program opened to provide
life skills education and counseling to young people who are
living outside of the family home.
1999 the Thenen House program was
changed to a supervised transitional living program to meet
the more complex needs of the young women who were being referred.
The admission age for the program was lowered to sixteen and
staff supervision was increased to twenty-four hours a day.
August 2000 an additional bedroom was constructed at Thenen
House to increase the capacity to five due to the growing
demand for placements.
April 2003 saw the completion of an expansion
construction project at the Plaid House group home, which
provided much needed additional space for its residents.