Alaska Baptist Family Services is now
Birchwood Behavioral Health

Who We Are

History and Mission

Our mission of “Bringing hope and healing to individuals and families by restoring wholeness in a therapeutic environment through the grace of Jesus Christ” was established in 1946 at the Alaska Baptist Convention in response to Alaska’s diphtheria outbreak, which left many children in the state without caregivers. In 1948 a children’s home was built and began providing care for hundreds of children throughout Alaska. Then in 1972, in light of new community needs, we began providing services for Severely Emotionally Disturbed children. Today, we continue our mission by providing Trauma Focused, Behavioral Health Services for Alaska’s children and families in need.


Philosophy of Care

Our program services are delivered from a Trauma Informed perspective, which simply means we focus on recognizing, understanding and responding to the effects of trauma.

In order to do this, all employees at BBH commit to the following tenants:

  • We understand that the most important tool we have in working with our clients is the relationship that we have with them. Therefore, we commit to building genuine relationships with each client. We will make an intentional effort to gather information about their thoughts, feelings, family experiences and the unique aspects of their culture.
  • We understand that every action (behavior) a child makes is an attempt to get a need met. Therefore, we commit to looking for the underlying need and teaching the child positive ways to get that need met.
  • We recognize that the most important factor in change for the clients we serve is the recognition of their individual strengths. Therefore, we commit to reinforcing their positive behaviors as much as possible.
  • We desire to prepare children to meet the challenges of adolescence. A calm, positive, and supportive environment provides a safe foundation for children to make this transition. Therefore, we commit to create such an environment by following a schedule and providing consistency.
  • We understand that with every action and every word we will either hurt (exploitive) or help (therapeutic) the clients we serve. Therefore, we commit to strive to use all words and deeds that are therapeutic.
  • We understand that learning can happen at any time and we commit to teach skills in every interaction and activities in the milieu. We commit to process with the clients in our care before and after activities, daily events and through crisis.
  • We commit to being actively involved in our milieu and to take opportunities to work alongside the clients we serve.
  • We understand that every child has the need to feel that they have an impact in their environment. Therefore, we commit to providing the clients we serve experiences that show them that they do have influence in their lives. We also commit to encouraging them to actively participate in their treatment decisions, to give them choices in their daily lives and to use our positional power in a positive way.
  • We understand that logical consequences are the best tool to teach our clients new ways to get their needs met. Therefore, we commit to tying all consequences to the behavior in a way that makes sense to the child.
  • We understand that we are role models for our clients and therefore, we will not place expectations on them that we are not willing to follow. We also commit to having rules based on safety issues only.