A Northern California institution since 1978, Family Life Center (FLC) is a hybrid residential treatment facility and private school serving adolescents in need of long-term behavioral health and a new learning environment. While there is a substance abuse component to FLC, their primary focus is on behavioral and emotional issues. Worth noting is that the company has recently partnered with Seneca Family of Agencies, a Southern California organization with their own expansive range of programs.
Accommodations and Food
Located on private grounds in Petaluma, California, residents stay in a handful of charming houses, altogether resembling a modern farm. There are usually 30 to 35 clients in residence at any given time, all of whom share rooms with one other person—each featuring twin beds, dressers and individual bathrooms. Housing is separated by gender and there is a chef on duty who prepares three hot, nutritious meals a day. Clients also get snack breaks throughout the day.
Treatment and Staff
The program is year-long with a busy schedule. All residents take part in a normal curriculum at the on-site Larry M. Simmons High School, while concurrently undergoing a combination of group and individual therapy. The blend of academics and recovery is designed to help students learn in a supportive and safe community.
Residents are encouraged to individualize their classes according to their learning needs, which allows previously-challenged students an opportunity to improve their performances, earn their high school diplomas and gain confidence. For those who are more academically advanced, FLC offers junior college courses, research scholarships and alternatives for higher education. Vocational education and training are also integrated into treatment plans, with classes taught by full-time vocational coordinators.
After the school day is over, clients participate in group therapy with licensed counselors and delve into prevalent issues like academic underachievement, learning disabilities, mood disorders, impulsivity, social adjustment, family relationships, adoption-related dynamics, drugs and alcohol, self-harm, abuse, neglect and aggressive behavior. Residents are also able to meet individually with counselors throughout the week. There is no medical detox offered at FLC.
The staff is extensive, with an estimated 85 to 100 member team, including a psychiatrist, a medical coordinator, psychologists, licensed therapists, expressive art therapists, special education teachers, a speech and language pathologist, certified wilderness professionals, medical coordinators, vocational coordinators, counselors and general support staff.
Perks include a Wilderness Education program, which involves supervised hikes and therapy conducted in a natural environment. Their vocational courses include a Chef’s Art Program, in which clients can apprentice with the culinary staff to learn about meal planning, purchasing, preparation and balanced nutrition. Furthermore, FLC sponsors other off-campus excursions, including trips to the movies and visits to the local community.
Given the educational services and treatment for behavioral and emotional health, FLC provides a wide-range of care for adolescents. Those looking for treatment primarily for alcohol and drug abuse should understand that FLC addresses substance abuse only as a secondary issue.
Family Life Center
365 Kuck Lane
Petaluma, CA 94952
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Photo courtesy of Colin Marquardt, Colin Marquardt (Own work (Photo taken myself)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)