Innovative Residential Interventions Texas



Youth Voice: A Culture of Collaboration

Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services (HSCFS) in Los Angeles, CA has developed a framework of collaborative, youth guided, family driven care within its Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP). This workshop will illustrate key components for maximizing youth / family voice into driving treatment, one toward sustainable progress both during admission and in the communities where youth obtain permanency.


Presenters: Cynthia Garcia Williams, M.A., Peer to Peer Support STRTP & Gina Peck-Sobolewski, MA, LMFT, Vice President - Hathaway-Sycamores





Trauma Informed Practice: Moving Away from Point and Level Systems

Points and level systems are a common strategy in residential programs, seen as necessary for “behavior management” and motivating change. However, there is increasing evidence that they don’t generate sustained improvement and in fact can yield unintended consequences for youth who have suffered traumatic stress. This presentation will review the limitations of such systems through the lenses of research in the neurosciences, clinical expertise, and lived experience. It will examine their impact on relationships and outcomes, discuss the challenges for staff in moving away from them, and offer transformational alternatives informed by examples from organizations that have done so. 

Presenter: Jamie Rau, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Director - Bonnie Brae


The Holy Grail of Eliminating Restraints

Youth Development Institute (YDI) frequently embarked on initiatives to reduce restraints only to find, over time, that the number of restraints would rise along with the usual rationalizations for the increase. Using the Six Core Strategies and the paradigm shift of eliminating – not just reducing – restraints, YDI sustained a significant reduction in the use of restraints, ultimately eliminating them. From an average of 37 restraints a month in June of 2012, YDI reached the goal of zero restraints in December 2013 and maintained an average of less than one restraint per month for over three years. Although total elimination restraints proved as elusive as the quest for the Holy Grail – the goal of eliminating restraints was a significant part of YDI’s transformation from an environment of conflict and stress into a true therapeutic milieu in which safety and healing permeate the treatment culture. YDI’s last restraint was in July of 2017 and treatment at YDI has been restraint-free for more than two years. This session will describe the path taken by YDI and the hard-learned lessons in the process of eliminating restraints and in maintaining a restraint-free environment.

Presenter: Trish Cocoros, Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder of Youth Development Institute (YDI)