Innovative Interventions: Residential Staff Symposium

No Disposable Kids: Building Innovative Residential Environments

Keynote Presenter: Dr. Larry Brendtro, Author of the highly acclaimed The Other 23 Hours

The unrivaled therapeutic power of residential settings to transform troubled lives was first proposed in two classic early books by the presenter, The Other 23 Hours, and Positive Peer Culture. This presentation is a symposium of leading-edge research and practice expertise on successful programs serving today’s challenging youth. The presenter draws from decades of experience in this field and has coauthored 16 books on strength-based approaches for creating positive youth climates and inspired staff teams.

Larry K. Brendtro, PhD, is director of The Resilience Academy which provides research, publications, and training on strength-based approaches to education, treatment, and youth development. He has experience as a child and youth care worker, teacher, and psychologist and has been a professor in the area of children’s behavior disorders at the University of Illinois, The Ohio State University, and Augustana University. He was president of Starr Commonwealth for fourteen years, serving troubled children and families in Michigan and Ohio. He holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan and is co-author of sixteen books and 200 articles. He shares observations from his practical experience and the forthcoming 2020 edition of the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Futures of Promise which integrates Native American principles of rearing children in environments of respect with modern youth development research. Dr. Brendtro served on the U.S. Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the administrations of presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. He is co-developer of the Positive Peer Culture and Circle of Courage models and trains professionals world-wide. (see

    The Holy Grail of Eliminating Restraints

Presenter: Trish Cocoros, Co-Executive Director, Youth Development Institute, Phoenix, AZ

While serving youth with acute mental health needs, programs/staff often resort to restraining young people to protect them, other youth and themselves. In recent years the push to reduce the use of restraints has been met with mixed reactions and results. ACRC board member Trish Cocoros made a profound decision to find a route to restraint elimination in her program, which serves over 100 youth in residential on any given day. Come engage in the conversation with ACRC and your colleagues. Let’s consider what we see as barriers to elimination and what results you may expect should your program go restraint free.  

Youth Development Institute (YDI) had frequently embarked on initiatives to reduce restraints only to find, over time, that the number of restraints would increase along with rationalizations for each increase. Through the use of the Six Core Strategies and the paradigm shift of eliminating – not reducing – restraints, YDI has sustained a consistent reduction in the use of restraints. Results progressed from an average of 37 restraints per month in June 2012, to less than one restraint per month starting in December 2013 and ultimately no restraints since July 4, 2017.* 

*(as of 3/12/19)

Trish Cocoros is Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder of Youth Development Institute (YDI) located in Phoenix, Arizona. Trish, together her husband David Cocoros, founded YDI as a non-profit agency in October of 1996. In June of 1997, YDI opened a 14-bed residential treatment unit in leased space and has grown into a 132-bed residential treatment agency located on a 9-acre campus in central Phoenix. Trish began her work with youth in residential treatment in 1970 and considers working directly with youth as the best part of her job.



Creating Positive Cultures of Care Resource

POWERFUL video from our 2017 conference: How does restraint really affect youth?