The town of Haverhill, on Massachusetts’ North Shore, has evolved significantly since the ‘60s, when a group of concerned citizens created Team Coordinating Agency to address the growing drug and alcohol problem in their hometown. At first, Team Coordinating Agency was only providing substance abuse treatment, but over the years it’s expanded services to treat adults and adolescents with a variety of mental and behavioral disorders. There are four residential treatment homes for adolescents and Team Coordinating Agency runs an eight-week substance abuse outpatient program from the Haverhill office that serves adults and homeless people during the day and adolescents in the evenings. There’s also a Driver Alcohol Education program available from the outpatient facility.
Accommodations and Food
The Team Coordinating Agency residential treatment homes accommodate adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18; there are more boys than girls, though, as three of the four group homes are for males only. The Crossroads home in Bradford specializes in long-term treatment; clients stay between three and nine months while the Milestone home, in Wilmington, treats the full spectrum of mental health services. Both Crossroads and Milestone have 12 beds. Phoenix East in Haverhill is the biggest boys facility, with 18 beds, and the single girls home, Pathways, in Bradford, also has 18 beds; all rooms and bathrooms are shared in an effort to establish bonds in the treatment community.
The Team Coordinating Agency’s residential program focuses on cultivating a stable home environment for teens and establishing routines around meals and household responsibilities. Clients are expected to eat together and complete a list of chores, the goal being to correct behavior, create community and reunite clients with their families. Like all teenagers, though, Team Coordinating Agency’s adolescent clients still need a healthy amount of free time so there are TV’s in the house common areas, and clients have access to computers and art supplies.
Team Coordinating Agency employs more than one therapeutic modality, but its overall belief is that having good adult role models is the best medicine for all manner of behavioral issues in teenagers. The staff makes an effort to get to know the clients as individuals, most of whom are referred by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. Some of the issues these kids face include substance abuse, sexual abuse trauma, mood disorders, conduct disorders, bipolar disorder, Asbergers, developmental disabilities, fire setting and intermittent explosive disorder.
The residential program is run according to milieu therapy. Clients attend daily group therapy and weekly individual therapy. The case managers on staff help craft particular programs so that clients with anger issues find support through anger management groups, clients with substance abuse issues are introduced to 12-step philosophy and sexual and impulse control issues are addressed using CBT. In addition, in the adolescent girls’ residential program, special emphasis is placed on developing healthy relationships and positive self-esteem.
Team Coordinating Agency also runs an outpatient after school program for teens in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. The eight-week program is available for adults during the day. Staff helps the homeless find local supportive housing in addition to treatment. Outpatient clients receive CBT and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) as well as guidance in 12-step philosophy. There is also a 12-week anger management program available for adults, though this is a smaller program, limited to 10 people, with a required 20 hours of group therapy a week.
The program director makes an effort to coordinate special activities for the adolescent clients; these activities are sometimes more involved than recreational trips to museums or movies, and are intended to inspire and empower clients with new skills. For example, recently Team Coordinating Agency partnered with Haverhill Community TV to script, storyboard and produce a PSA. The teens involved chose the topic—the dangers of prescription drug abuse—and were given the opportunity to help their idea come to life in production.
A summer program is also organized for the adolescent clients here. Massachusetts may be bitterly cold for most of the year, but summers on the North Shore are great and clients can take advantage of the outdoors: hiking, swimming and kayaking.
Maybe the best aspect of Team Coordinating Agency’s program is its affordability; it accepts Medicaid, state and private insurance, insuring that kids who might normally slip through the cracks get a chance at the help they need. And while most of the adolescent population is referred to the residential programs by the state, self-referred clients are also welcome. The residential homes are relatively strict but that might be necessary and the after school outpatient program is available for clients who would benefit from a less restrictive climate.
Team Coordinating Agency Location
76 Winter St
Haverhill, MA 01830
Team Coordinating Agency Cost
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