Government Representatives Visit Phoenix House Orange County Children and Family Services

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

On December 17, 2012, during the holiday season focusing on charity and sharing, Phoenix House Orange County programs for children and families welcomed representatives from the office of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (Mr. Carlos Urquiza), Orange County Social Service Agency (Ms. TerryLynn Fisher, Public Information Officer) and Santa Ana Unified School District Police Department (Sgt. Manuel Chavez, Adjutant to Chief of Police). The purpose of the visit was to present current information about the scope and quality of our services for children, teens, and families offered at our Santa Ana campus. The distinguished guests met with staff and clients in the offices of Phoenix House Academy of Orange County, learned about the scope and design of the West Side Story Project (a federally-funded gang prevention and youth development project), and about Phoenix House Wraparound Services helping at risk children to remain with their families while receiving comprehensive social services and support.  The visiting officials were welcomed by VP and Director of Finance, Mary Jane Aquino, Sr. Director of Planning, Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D., and directors of the Orange County programs.

West Side Story Project at the Phoenix House Academy

Phoenix House Academy of Orange County is an evidence-based, innovative treatment model for at-risk teens affected by substance abuse and mental health issues. As the Academy Director, Gilbert Carmona LMFT explained, residents receive evidence-based group counseling as well as individual therapy, while attending school and participating in additional services such as the West Side Story Project (WSSP).  This innovative project funded by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice brings high-risk teens together with the local law enforcement agencies to participate in a collaborative, educational, and potentially life-changing theater workshops. The WSSP is currently offered at six Phoenix House locations nationwide.

At the Phoenix House Academy campus in Santa Ana, Lauri Romero, Wraparound Supervisor, has partnered with the Santa Ana Unified School District Police Department. Sergant Manuel Chavez regularly visits the campus to speak with the residents and hear out their concerns. The focus is to help young people learn how to communicate, feel they are heard and understood, without having to seek such support in illegal groups like gang and related activities. This wonderful opportunity for dialogue is yet another proof of our committment to gang and violence prevention.

Life-Changing Results of Wraparound OC Services

Director of Phoenix House Wraparound OC Services, Scott VanCamp, LMFT, discussed the scope of services and success stories of a program that, wholly or in part, is funded through County, State and Federal government funds. Phoenix House Wraparound targets at-risk children, youth, and families referred by Orange County Social Service Agency, Health Care Agency and Probation Department. The purpose of this strength-based program is to transform the family to avoid institutional placement of children and ensure their academic and personal success. The Wraparound services target at-risk children and youth, engaging them and their families in individualized community-based services.

The program is unique as it focuses on the family, and each family member’s individual capabilities. The approach is strength-based and driven by each family’s self-identified needs and vision. The “whatever it takes” style facilitates a collaborative partnership between families, formal supports (such as social service agency), the community, and natural supports such as friends, neighbors, church members, coaches, and teachers. Scott VanCamp explained: “each Wraparound family is engaged with an applied understanding and appreciation of that family’s uniqueness and it is a privilege to collaborate with all participants in this remarkable process.”  Ms. TerryLyn Fischer, LMSW, explained Orange County’s innovative implementation of Wrapround Services, currently offered by seven differnt nonprofit providers.

Lessons from a Guided Tour and our Guide

A graduate of the Phoenix House Academy served as a guide for a tour of the facility that stopped over at the new flower garden created and maintained by the students, as well as the soccer field, school classrooms, students’ living quarters, and outdoor meeting spaces. Our eloquent and highly motivated guide was a living proof of the effectiveness of Phoenix House residential treatment program.

Teens with substance abuse and mental health issues tend to fall behind in their school credits or drop out of school; their health suffers and their family relationships are strained. Time away from home while enrolled in a residential treatment program allows them to work on the issues they have, while making up for their educational deficiencies, catching up with school work, exercising, learning to have fun without drugs or alcohol, and living a well-structured, disciplined life. The “learning from living” on campus includes adhering to such simple rules as “no cutting corners” when turning from path to path – since there is no cutting corners in life…

For more information abour our programs, or to refer someone in need for admission to our treatment program for teens at the Phoenix House Academy of Orange County, please call our Call Center at 1 888 671 9392. We are here to help you find the information and services you need!

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