Headquartered in Gardena, California, Behavioral Health Services was founded in 1973 by a group of volunteers in the community studying the effects of substance abuse. In 1975, after forming the Centinela Valley Drug Abuse Coalition, it incorporated as Behavioral Health Services and branched out from there—it now has multiple locations serving Los Angeles County.
Accommodations and Food
Residential branches of Behavioral Health Services are hospital-like settings with treatment and housing under one roof. Residents sleep on twin beds and share a room with at least one other client—some rooms have between three and five residents. A TV room is available, but viewing times may differ, depending on the location. The Pomona facility, which is known as American Recovery Center, has separate media rooms for males and females. Each is furnished with couches, a desk and flat-screen TV. Viewing times are in the morning, afternoon and a short time in the evening. Also, should potential employers call, this location has a vocational room equipped with phone-answering services. There’s a computer for creating/updating resumes and accessing job sites. A vocational counselor is also available.
American Recovery Center’s cafeteria-food selections include eggs, ham, hot and cold cereal and juice for breakfast. Milk and coffee are available in the mornings and caffeine and sugar are allowed. For lunch, residents enjoy various meals plus selections from the salad bar and juice bar. Men and women have separate food stations.
Treatment and Staff
In addition to the 12 steps, Behavioral Health Services facilities implement CBT and other evidence-based practices like individual and group counseling into their treatment. While residents receive at least two individual sessions per week, the total allotment depends on the client’s needs. They have the ability to treat those who have a dual diagnosis.
An on-site doctor is available for detox—10 to 14 days—but residents are sent to an off-site doctor for any acute, medical care. However, if a client is on an insurance contract, Behavioral Health Services authorizes only five days. Transportation is provided depending on the circumstances—they may have 911-emergency services manage the logistics. Since they’re non-profit, Behavioral Health Services’ program lengths are dependent on the funding source and individual assessment. Generally, clients stay three to six months.
When residents have accrued 90 days or more, they’re allowed to request permission to attend off-site meetings. Similarly, mobile-phone use is limited and a proposal must be submitted. Early-stage residents who have found a 90-day sponsor with a valid driver’s license may accompany their sponsor to meetings. For everyone else, on-site recovery meetings are available daily with the exception of Wednesdays. Sponsorship is strongly encouraged for all clients.
Visitation privileges must be earned by completing 30 days of treatment. Visitors ages 18 and older must go through orientation, which is the first and third Sunday of every month. Orientation is not required for younger visitors provided they are with someone who has attended the orientation. If these criteria are met, visitation is on the weekends from 1 pm to 4 pm. All visitors are on a rotating list, allowing them to visit every other Saturday or Sunday.
American Recovery Center residents have a strict schedule, starting with wakeup at 6 am. If they have a kitchen assignment, they must be at their station by 6:30. Other residents must be exercising by 7 am, except those who have under 30 days, who must be in group. Breakfast is served at 7:30 am. The rest of the morning consists of assigned chores and a house meeting. Lunch is served at noon, followed by group therapy—small breaks are allowed between groups. Afterward, residents get ready for dinner, which is served at 5:30 pm. After dinner, clients enjoy downtime until lights out at 10 pm.
A total of 16 highly credentialed counselors assist up to 95 clients. In addition, techs and/or interns are available for overnight assistance.
At the American Recovery Center, a unisex, exercise room is available with weights, a bench and curling bars, yoga mats and stationary bikes. To relax, residents can swim in the on-site pool. Recreational activities include park outings and trips to the movies. Behavioral Health Services participates in the annual Al-ympics, where recovering addicts nationwide compete to win prizes in different sporting events
Upon request, American Recovery Center’s certified family counselor is available to facilitate therapy with loved ones. Initially, the counselor meets separately with all parties involved, then conducts a group session. While Behavioral Health Services’ other locations may not necessarily have family programs, all locations allow family visitors.
For those with limited means or seeking to simplify their lives, Behavior Health Services offers a running start on the road to recovery. Although the Pomona location’s operations, staff and schedule are not necessarily representative of the other branches, it is a good example of the type of recovery services provided by this organization.
Behavioral Health Services
15519 Crenshaw Blvd
Gardena, CA 90249
American Recovery Center
2180 West Valley Blvd
Pomona, CA 91768
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