TAFS AUSTIN

Teen and Family Services Open House - Houston

Joanna Ferrell the Director of Community Engagement at Teen and Family Services was an outstanding host at a very successful Open House.  She reached out to the Local Community, Schools, Counselors and Treatment Centers.

Joanna welcomed the visitors and shared a few words before introducing our speakers.  "Since the moment that I joined Teen and Family Services I knew that really special things happen here, I have witnessed so many miracles, and a lot of healing.  That is really what we do here, it is not just about helping teens in crisis, we focus on family recovery.  Our staff dedicates their time, and energy into making sure that these families are successful." 

Coffee, juice and breakfast pastries were served to the guests while they listened to a presentation from George Youngblood the Chief Executive Officer and Eileen Knight the Program Director.

George spoke about the old approach of substance abuse treatment and the new approach.  We used to put adolescents through an adult treatment and were failing about 87% of the time.  87% of the kids returned to active substance abuse.  We were happy to serve the 13% but when we started Teen and Family Services the attitude was, “this was just not good enough”.  Why do we keep saying they are just not ready?   Of course they are not ready, they are adolescents. 

The idea was taking a model that was born here in Houston the Alternative Peer Group (APG) , and blending that with relationships with the mental health field, focusing on education,  a strong family component, and a great partnership with the recovery high schools here in Houston.

Baylor College of medicine did a research project a couple of years ago.   They looked at a group of kids from the APG program like TAFS, and tracked them for a semester, and we had an 89% sobriety rate for a whole school year which has allowed us to flip that 89% failure to 89% SUCCESS rate.  The reason I think it works is our partnership with the mental health field. 

What is the biggest challenge of a teenager?  Their Peer Group

I have never, in over 23 years of doing this met a kid that stayed sober while hanging out with kids that were still using.  The idea of this model is to integrate them into a support peer group that is staffed by professionals, that help them to create relationships that are therapeutically helpful.

A Note of Thanks

Thank you!  I really enjoyed getting to know more about your program and was truly touched by the passion that surrounds the work you do.  Truly fascinating! 

Joanna will be hosting a second Open House in The Woodlands on Tuesday May 3, 2016

Topics Covered: teens, teenagers, adolescents, addiction, drug, alcohol, adolescent treatment, recovery, recovery high schools, mental health, counseling, 12 steps, addicts, behaviors, treatment, alternative peer group, APG, family counselling, substance abuse, substance use, substances, sober high school, sober adolescents, sobriety.