SJRC Texas and Touchstone Alliance Open Treatment Center for Vulnerable Youth in New Braunfels

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The center will provide girls aged 13 to 18 with additional support before moving on to their next placement. (Courtesy of SJRC Texas)

SJRC Texas has embarked on a new effort to meet the needs of children in the foster care system who are transitioning out of psychiatric care and into their next placement.

In partnership with the Belong Division of the SJRC and Touchstone Alliance, a non-profit organization part of the SJRC, the organization recently opened an Integrative Treatment Center in New Braunfels.

“We needed something in our community that would really serve our children who have left psychiatric hospitals who are not quite ready for the next one. [place]whether it’s in RTCs (residential treatment centers) or in foster care or the next place they go, without a little more support and services,” said Tara Roussett, CEO of SJRC Texas and Belong.

The center will receive its first placements later this spring, Roussett said, and will focus on girls ages 13 to 18.

The program is designed for children to stay in the 16-bed facility for up to 90 days while the interdisciplinary team provides behavioral, mental and physical programming and preparation for the child’s next placement.

“We want our kids to be fully assessed for what they need and then communicate with the next place they’re going, which is hopefully in a home setting,” Roussett said. “We want everything in place to make this transition successful, and then Touchstone will follow them to the next place to make sure they have their ongoing mental health needs met.”

SJRC’s Belong Division oversees the Community Care Initiative in the Department of Family and Protective Services’ South Central Hill Country region, which includes 27 counties between Jackson County and Val Verde County, 1 exclusion from Bexar County.

Roussett said the program will eventually expand to serve other demographic groups throughout the region as part of a statewide effort to ease the transition between placements and provide needed mental health services. children in the foster care system.

Touchstone is also expected to spin off from SJRC Texas at a later date and will continue to provide services at SJRC-owned facilities as a contractor.

According to Roussett, the program will play a key role in helping establish stability for children in the foster care system and preventing children from undergoing frequent changes of placement.

“Every decision we make with the children in our care is about what we can do today to bring them to permanency,” she said.

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