Chapel Haven

1040 Whalley Avenue 
New Haven, CT 06515

203-397-1714 ext. 11

dy Lefkowitz

18 to 29

Boys and Girls

Call admissions department for current tuition.

2 years

Chapel Haven is a unique place. We are the country's only combined state-accredited special education facility and independent living facility for adults with cognitive disabilities.

For those who enroll in our Residential Program, we are an alternative to college, complete with a dorm-style residence, green campus, dozens of classes, and plenty of opportunities for socializing and personal development. The College Excellence Program, taught at nearby Gateway Community College, adds to the collegiate atmosphere. Others enroll in our Education Program, Recreation Program, Employment Program, or Supported Living Program. For these clients, Chapel Haven is a true resource center, offering individualized attention tailored to changing needs.

With our nationally recognized expertise in special education and independent living, we provide our clients with uniquely integrated services that address a lifetime of needs. Many students who come to Chapel Haven choose to remain in New Haven after graduation, leading full and productive lives.

But our service model is only part of what makes Chapel Haven unique.

It's also the extraordinary people who come to Chapel Haven from across the world and even from across town. It's the caring, exceptional people who work at Chapel Haven every day to help our clients achieve independence.

All prospective students are given careful consideration by the Admissions Department. Our goal is to give prospective residents and families a comprehensive view of Chapel Haven’s programs.

We welcome students from all over the United States as well as Canada, the Far East, and Europe, admitting students throughout the year as space permits. The Residential Program serves a maximum of 29 young men and women, 18 years of age and older.

The Director of Admissions reviews intake materials such as current IEPs, psychological evaluations, and vocational assessments and invites appropriate and interested parties for a tour of our facilities and an interview.

Click here to download a Residential Admissions Application.


All prospective residential students participate in a six-day evaluation and skills assessment. During this week, the prospective resident follows a typical Chapel Haven schedule.

The visit is intended to be a mutual assessment; the prospective resident has the opportunity to assess Chapel Haven and Chapel Haven can determine if we can best meet the needs of the prospective resident. In this way, the evaluation period is an essential part of creating an individualized plan to achieve a successful transition to independence.

Admissions-Non-Residential Clients

All potential Chapel Haven clients, even those accessing our services on a limited basis, meet with the Admissions Office. To apply for any of Chapel Haven’s services, including Employment Services, Recreation Services, Supported Living Program, or the Education Program, please call Judy Lefkowitz at 203-397-1714 ext. 113.

Chapel Haven's year-round Education Program is second to none. Chapel Haven faculty teach nearly 70 classes each quarter. It is the foundation from which residents build lives of successful independence. The Program consists of seven distribution areas: Language Arts, Math and Science, Social Studies, Life Skills, Vocational Skills, Wellness, and Personal Enrichment.

Day and evening classes meet the scheduling needs of students and community members with varied work and social agendas. Our quarter system enables students to pursue many educational areas of interest each year.

Community members often enroll in many of our classes for personal enrichment. Popular enrichment classes include Poetry, Martial Arts, Digital Photography, and Ceramics.

College Excellence Program

Through the Education Program we offer the College Excellence Program, allowing Chapel Haven classes to take place on the nearby campus of Gateway Community College. These special classes are designed to familiarize Chapel Haven students with college life.

Click here for more information about Gateway Community College (

State-Certified Curriculum

As a state-approved, private special education facility, we employ a teaching staff comprised of both certified and non-certified professionals. Teachers offer classes and also attend to the personal growth and enrichment of students as individuals.

Great care is taken in designing the continually expanding course selection to meet the needs and interests of our students.

Classes on banking and budgeting, clothing management, reading directions, and utilizing public transportation supplement the lessons learned from the Residential Life Skills Case Manager. Classes on career exploration, resume writing, and workplace social skills complement the Employment Program.

Community Integration

Like all other Chapel Haven programs, the goal the Education Program is community integration.

We draw on our extensive local resources by bringing professionals from the greater New Haven community to our site to offer classes, workshops, and seminars.

Whether it’s a local artist teaching painting, a doctor from Yale conducting human sexuality seminars, or a human resources manager from a local corporation speaking on interviewing techniques, we endeavor to expose our students to the greater community, and the greater community to our students.

Summers on Long Island Sound. Winter Bowling League. Trips to New York and Boston. Cooking Class. Nightclubbing. Pick-up Basketball Games. Shows at the Shubert Theater. Visits to Yale University Art Gallery. Indian food in downtown New Haven. Hiking at Sleeping Giant State Park. This is a just a small sampling of our options.

Chapel Haven's Recreation Program places a premium on variety, allowing individuals to explore new interests. The Recreation Program is included in the Chapel Haven's Residential Program fees. Community Members also participate in the Recreation Program, many partaking in trips and activities designed for the more mature set.

Chapel Haven encourages individuals from other local organizations into our Recreation Program, giving Chapel Haven clients the chance to expand their social circle.

The Recreation Program offers five areas of programming:

Weekend Recreation

Weekends are perfect for extended excursions, and Chapel Haven regularly offers trips to Boston and New York City, as well as venues around the state including Gillette Castle, Sleeping Giant State Park, and the Hartford Civic Center. Weekend Recreation provides opportunities for clients to sample nightlife available to all adults, including coffee shops, lounges, nightclubs and casinos.

"The Rec Center"

There's always something to do at Chapel Haven. The Rec Center, located in the Bershaw Boswell Center's spacious lounge, provides an organized socializing venue every evening from 7p.m. -9 p.m. Movies, Internet surfing, musical performances, charades, karaoke, and bingo are typical offerings.

The drop-in center is equipped with a state-of-the-art entertainment center including a giant screen television, a VCR, a DVD player, video games, and computers.

Travel Club

Adventurers seeking to journey beyond the Greater New Haven area and explore the world may join Chapel Haven's Travel Club.

The Travel Club, along with a non-profit travel organization specifically for people with special needs, plans many trips each year that take people to points of interest locally, nationally, and internationally.

Some of the more popular past destinations have included Disney World, Gettysburg, California, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, and Ireland.

Our campus, which consists of two buildings and open spaces suited for recreation, serves as a hub of activity for all Chapel Haven programming.

The Bershaw Boswell Community Center

This recently completed state-of-the art building includes:

The Computer Classroom, equipped with eleven work stations, a projection screen, and a full-time computer instructor
The Media Arts Center for digital photography and multimedia projects
The Community Room, a large open space with a wide screen TV, VCR, DVD player, and stereo, used for special events
The Community Kitchen for cooking classes, clubs, and parties
The Art Studio, outfitted with a ceramics studio and a kiln
The Fitness Center, including cardiovascular and strength training, mats, exercise balls, and other portable equipment.

The Rossman Residence

Residential students enjoy a classic dorm atmosphere in the Rossman Residence. The Residence includes:

One to four bedrooms and one or two bathrooms in each apartment
A kitchen, a living room, and a dining area in each apartment
The Student Lounge, with informational bulletin boards, vending machines, and laundry facilities

Chapel Haven parents are important members of the Chapel Haven community, contributing to our efforts in invaluable ways. Chapel Haven's Parent Network allows parents to act as representatives of Chapel Haven in their communities, hosting information sessions and other recruitment events for families interested in learning more about Chapel Haven.

At Chapel Haven we believe that every person is to be treated with respect and dignity.
We value the individual. We recognize the uniqueness of each person with whom we work and that though our mission remains constant, we must tailor our services to the individual in order to promote maximum success. We also understand that the individual's needs change over time and therefore offer a continuum of flexible supports designed to meet those needs throughout life.
We help the individuals we serve create their own networks of support that include our staff as well as family, friends, other service providers, and community resources. We encourage the individuals we serve to use these supports to help them take risks and make their own choices as they seek independence.
We view our role in the lives of the individuals we serve as that of a guide. We provide education and assistance to ensure that they can make informed decisions based on an understanding of a range of options.
We appreciate that independence, more than living on one's own, means having the freedom to pursue a life of fulfillment and define for oneself what that fulfillment means. We provide our services in support of that pursuit

Who We Are

Chapel Haven is nationally accredited by CARF, state- approved by the Connecticut State Department of Education, and licensed by DMR. We employ 80 full-and part-time employees who work hard to fufill our mission of achieving independence for our clients.

Each of our five program areas (Education, Employment, Residential, Supported Living, and Recreation) is headed by a supervisor and fully staffed with specialists trained to meet the needs of the individuals they serve. Many of our staff, including Supported Living Coordinators and Residential Life Skills Case Managers, work on a one-on-one basis with clients.

Chapel Haven's Executive Team

Betsey Parlato, President, CEO
Judy Lefkowitz, Vice-President of Admissions
Frank Hughes, Vice-President of Finance and Operations

Michael Storz, Vice-President of Day Programs

Thayer Quoos, Vice-President of Residential Program

This highly credentialed staff, all with advanced degrees and many years of solid experience in their respective fields, provides leadership to our dedicated staff. Together, they work to ensure that all program areas are integrated, and are continually evaluating and expanding our services.

If you visit Chapel Haven, here are some of the people you will meet:

President, CEO
Betsey Parlato

As President, Betsey oversees all Chapel Haven programming, and guides Chapel Haven as it continually grows and expands its services to meet the changing needs of the population.

"We are an approved school and an accredited independent living facility licensed by DMR that serves clients for the lifetime. There is no other place like ours."

"But it's the unparalleled dedication of the staff and the measurable success of the individuals we serve that makes Chapel Haven truly exceptional."

Vice-President of Admissions
Judy Lefkowitz

If you’re interested in Chapel Haven, Judy Lefkowitz will be your first contact. Judy has served as Chapel Haven's Vice-President of Admissions for nearly a decade, and has carefully interviewed the many prospective applicants and families that visited our campus. She is particularly sensitive when dealing with families on issues of separation and "letting go." Judy also arranges the Assessment, which gives prospective students and their families the chance to carefully evaluate our program.

"It's very gratifying to watch the young adults who come to Chapel Haven become more independent and put their lives together."

"I've seen so much personal growth. They are cared for, yet challenged."

Vice-President of Finance and Operations

Frank Hughes

Vice-President of Day Programs
Michael Storz

Community Life Program
Employment Program
Educational Program
Recreational Program
Vice-President of Residential Programs

Thayer Quoos

Residential Program
Supportive Living Program
Board of Directors

Chapel Haven's governing body is a Board of Directors comprised of sixteen individuals: eight family members of clients and eight professionals from the Greater New Haven community.

Chapel Haven

Residential Treatment Center

203-397-1714 ext. 11

We Can Help!

We help hundreds of families.
Some of the services we offer:

  • Admissions Counseling
  • Crisis Placement Services
  • free advice on programs
  • Interim short, 3-5 day crisis placements awaiting long term placements
  • Pre-screened Places for Children, Adolescents, Teens and Young Adults
  • Recommendation of preferred schools and programs
  • Teen Transportation Services

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