Tahoe Turning Point helps adolescents, adults and families to recover from the emotional turbulence caused by substance abuse and behavioral problems in the home. The non-profit, first founded in South Lake Tahoe in 1980, opened its second office location in Placerville in 2011. Tahoe Turning Point operates five residential group homes for adolescents, and provides outpatient services and parenting classes for adults from both of its office locations.
Accommodations and Food
Each of Tahoe Turning Point’s five group homes—Meadow, Heavenly, Mountain, Meyers and Douvres—is a little different. First, some basic differences: only Heavenly houses girls and Douvres has 10 beds while all the rest have six. Tahoe Turning Point does not provide the addresses of its five group homes, given that its residents are minors.
The Meadow Home for boys between the ages of 14 and 18 is a standard suburban house with three bedrooms, two boys in each. Heavenly Home for girls between the ages of 14 and 19 is an older two-story house, also with three bedrooms and six beds. Mountain Home for boys between the ages of 16 and 19 is an attractive, newly furnished two-story house behind South Tahoe High School, again with three bedrooms and six beds. The Meyers Home for boys between the ages of 13 and 17 is a quaint wooden house with six beds, just outside Tahoe city limits. Douvres is a slightly bigger house with five bedrooms for 10 boys between the ages of 15 and 19.
Beware, all those who grew up without rules; Tahoe Turning Point does not let the inmates run the asylum. Boys and girls have daily chores, prepare their own meals and are held accountable by staff. Groceries for meals are provided by the staff and included in the monthly cost of care.
Treatment and Staff
While none of the homes offer detox, each has a slightly different emphasis with regards to treatment. Even though 95 percent of Tahoe’s adolescent clients are struggling with substance abuse, it’s not a one-size fits all program.
Boys at the Meadow home already have moderate to intensive substance abuse problems. These boys are either looking to emancipate themselves from their families, or Tahoe Turning Point will help them with family reunification. For boys looking to emancipate, the Meadow staff provides vocational training. Mountain Home boys are slightly older on average, and are looking to emancipate. At Mountain they are given vocational training and the emphasis is on building independent living skills. There is counseling offered for substance abuse and for criminal behavior. Meyers is an adventure therapy program where the boys are led by expert instructors in rock climbing, backpacking, water sports, skiing and snowboarding. These clients are younger, but already have a pattern of delinquent behavior. The Douvres program specializes in dual diagnosis support, training boys who struggle with mental health issues and addiction to live on their own. Clients are trained in construction, plumbing, landscaping and carpentry. Heavenly is the only home for girls. Female clients typically have sexual exploitation in their histories, and are given coping skills to navigate dealing with attendant issues. Female clients may also struggle with attention deficit disorders and school-related issues. Tahoe Turning Point describes Heavenly as its most nurturing environment.
All the houses are a little different, but the basic Tahoe Turning Point philosophy runs through all these programs. All clients are given the opportunity for education: they can either be home schooled or attend public school in the community. Every Tahoe Turning Point client sees a psychiatrist on admission to assess his or her mental state, and medication is prescribed if necessary. Clients meet for group and individual therapy with therapists and counselors. The split between time in school and time in therapy during the week is about 50/50. All clients are introduced to 12-step programs and are brought to meetings in the community. Mountain Home is the only residence that hosts its own meetings.
Group homes for adolescents are not Tahoe Turning Point’s only program; they run outpatient programs for adults from two locations, in Tahoe and Placerville. These programs include a 12- and a 52-week parenting class series, family and couples counseling, grief therapy, substance abuse and addiction counseling, relapse prevention and drug and alcohol education. Counselors in the outpatient programs are licensed MFTs and licensed drug and alcohol counselors.
Apart from the parenting classes, there is no prescribed or mandatory length of treatment at the outpatient or inpatient level. Individualized treatment plans are made for all Tahoe Turning Point clients. Typically, adolescents in the group homes stay between six and 12 months, although some stay as little as 30 days and others as long as two years. The duration of outpatient care is similarly flexible: many clients stay between three and nine months.
Group home clinical staff is made up of licensed marriage and family therapists or licensed drug and alcohol counselors. Some of the staff members are marriage and family therapists in training. Each house has a case manager who is responsible for the overall well being of the clients in the house; case managers have experience in working in the fields of addiction and mental health and some are former athletes and sportsmen.
Outdoor experiences are an integral part of Tahoe Turning Point’s programs; clients in every house are taken multiple times a week on hiking trails in the mountains or by the lake and bigger trips might include overnight backpacking or going to Yosemite.
Tahoe Turning Point also runs a School for Addiction Counseling program from its outpatient facilities. Participants get accreditation as certified addiction counselors through a one-year program. It’s a major commitment: 270 hours of class and 90 hours of practicum are required. More information about tuition and enrollment can be found on Tahoe Turning Point’s website.
Although much is left to the imagination without knowing exactly where all the group homes are, Lake Tahoe is certainly a picturesque place to recover. Tahoe Turning Point takes advantage of their environs through the rigorous outdoor component of their residential programs. The kind of rehabs that boast such beauty and adventure are usually far more expensive than Tahoe Turning Point, but this rehab keeps its costs low, committed as they are to helping kids and families in dire straits.
Tahoe Turning Point Main Office
2494 Lake Tahoe Blvd
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
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Photo courtesy of Christian Abend from Laufen an der Salzach, Bayern / Deutschland (Lake Tahoe, Kalifornien & Nevada, USA) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)