The 28-bed Ventura County Adolescent Residential Treatment Program is the most intensive children’s short-term treatment program Casa Pacifica offers. Individualized child treatment programs tailored to each child’s needs typically takes place over nine to 12 months and is built on a 24-hour milieu overseen by a multidisciplinary team of experienced professionals, including a clinical staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, teachers, therapeutic activity specialists along with well-trained youth development specialists. Based on cognitive/ behavioral principles, this highly structured experiential program is designed to teach children cognitive strategies and social skills that will enable them to live effective and fulfilling lives at home and in the community. In addition, most children in the residential treatment program are enrolled in the campus non-public school.
This program is geared to help both boys and girls ages 11 through 17 who have proven too difficult for a foster home or other youth care programs and have exhausted all other treatment options in the community. These youth have severe emotional and behavioral challenges typically coupled with serious social and academic skill deficits. The program is also equipped to serve children with highly specialized needs such as insulin dependency and other medical conditions, substance abuse, children reacting to chronic trauma, and severe social deficits.
The Casa Pacifica Residential Program integrates a Day Rehabilitation and the cottage STEPS to Success Program. Youth progress through five STEPS while in treatment beginning with orientation and ending with leadership and a transition phase before graduating. Each program staff has a unique role in creating a therapeutic alliance and through collaboration, they strengthen our intentional culture and support the therapeutic milieu. The 14-bed girl’s cottage and 14-bed boys cottage are led by a supervising licensed clinician and supervisor. Reporting to them is the direct care “leadership trio” consisting of a Behavioral Specialist, Assistant Cottage Supervisor, and Support Counselor. A major task of the leadership trio is to provide supervision and coaching to youth care workers to sharpen their skills, maintain our culture, and create a strong trauma informed milieu and program structure.
Each youth has a primary youth care worker (a youth development specialist) that gets to know them, builds a close relationship with them, takes them on individual outings, spends special time with them, engages them in the program, helps advocate for them within the cottage, coaches them on forming relationships and goal achievement, and is the “go to” person for the youth. Additionally, there is a psychology intern and postdoctoral fellow located in the cottage to help shape the milieu and provide mental health services. Families are invited into the cottages and encouraged to participate in their youth’s lives, through activities, cooking a meal, helping with homework, family therapy, etc. or just visiting. Those youth 16-18 years old are also referred to our TYS Program (Transitional Youth Services) that helps them prepare for emancipation. They assist youth in making a life plan and exploring living options, employment and career, educational opportunities, community life skills, and personal well-being.
Casa Pacifica is committed to being a family driven and youth guided center. As such we have joined the national initiative Building Bridges. The Building Bridges Mission and Goals are to identify and promote effective practices and policies; create strong and well-coordinated partnerships and collaborations; and ensure that comprehensive services and supports are:
Our philosophy reflects an on-going commitment to the youth and family by not allowing premature discharge, and striving to provide continuity of treatment, supporting transitions, promoting individualized and culturally competent service delivery and goals, eliminating blame and supporting the strengths of each family member. We incorporate a “whatever it takes” and “never give up” attitude to providing hope, help, and support. Youth have a developmentally appropriate role in their care by planning their short-term treatment goals with their clinician and participating in treatment team meetings. They have a role in creating rules, regulations, and policies that govern their living environments by participating in the campus-wide “unity council” and the cottage “residential council”.
Casa Pacifica’s substance abuse recovery program based on the essential elements of the Matrix Model (an evidenced-based community program developed at UCLA for young adults). The elements of the Change Project include Eight sessions of early recovery groups, thirty-two sessions of relapse preventions groups, regular attendance of off-campus twelve-step meetings, family support and education groups, individual and family psychological treatment sessions, Weekly random drug screening, periodic healthy reinforcement for participation and abstinence. Additionally, the Change Project integrates motivational interviewing designed to help directly address ambivalence about changing substance use behaviors. The use of Motivational Interviewing is crucial to enhancing the receptivity of youth to the material in the Matrix Model, and effectively addressing fluctuations in motivation to discontinue substance use or remain abstinent.
MSDR or better known as “Seaville” is a multi-sensory alternative to the use of seclusion or time out rooms with a focus on helping youth increase self-regulation of emotions and behavior. Its function is to facilitate a meaningful learning experience before and after a crisis. The goal is to support youth in progressing along the continuum from external behavioral controls toward effective internal regulation of their behavior. Staff uses a variety of gross motor and fine motor activities in the gym like setting to engage youth and support emotional regulation. Staff trained in the use of the MSDR, are introduced to theories from applied brain research, sensory integration, and child development. A basic overview of brain anatomy is presented with a focus on the process for effective multi-sensory de-escalation. A Sensory Integration Assessment of youth strengths is completed on all youth as they enter our program. The results of these assessments are used both in helping youth learn to regulate their emotions and set goals for recreational activities as well as their time in “Seaville. Youth may ask to go to Seaville as a tool to help them regulate their emotions or may be prompted by staff to utilize the room.
Katie Pfeiffer, PsyD and Assistant Director of Admissions and Utilization
Phone: (805) 366-4139
Sean Dickson, Admissions and Utilization Manager
Phone: (805) 366-4104