The Potter”s House Therapeutic and Supportive Care Provides a Safe Haven for Our Community”s Youth

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Over the first 18 years of life, children experience a range of dramatic physical, cognitive and social-emotional changes. While most are able to transition successfully into adulthood, some have trouble coping with these changes during their adolescent years. The Potter”s House Family and Children Treatment Center provides care, treatment and comfort for children at this much-needed time. “Our center is a place were children can come, have fun and feel comfortable about being treated with no stigma attached,” says Office Manager Ajori Tobias.

Started in 1996, the organization first opened The Potter”s House Homes for Children to serve as a therapeutic residential center for children from Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). The centers were located in Stone Mountain, Lithonia and Clarkston. In 2006, The Potter”s House Family and Children Treatment Center opened in Stone Mountain to provide mental health services to not only the children in the residential program, but also to the families in the surrounding metro Atlanta community. Today, the treatment center serves as their primary facility and provides programs for children up to 18 years of age.

“We have come to realize that many times the child is healed, but the family unit remains dysfunctional. By providing services to the entire family, the impact will be more profound and permanent.”## In fulfilling their mission to be a family-oriented facility, The Potter”s House offers therapeutic care for children while continuing to support the whole family”s involvement in the child”s treatment process. “Our organization encourages parents to participate in their child”s goals and treatment,” Tobias says.

When a child first visits the treatment center, they will meet with the center”s intake coordinator. The coordinator, with both the child and their parents, will create an IRP (or individual resiliency plan), which designates the child”s goals and objectives while receiving treatment. According to the treatment plan, the family is then assigned a therapist and community support case managers to help the child with their social skills and coordinate services in the community. The therapist conducts both individual and family sessions, so everyone in the home can partake in the child”s treatment. There are also group therapy sessions available for the child to work on their IRP goals with their fellow peers who may be working on the same goals, which encourages peer support.

A psychiatrist is also on staff to conduct psychotherapy with the family and child as well as prescribing medication as needed. A psychiatric nurse assists the psychiatrist with the management the child”s medication, lab work and education on specific health-related issues as noted in their IRP, such as hygiene or eliminating self-harming behaviors.

Being a dependable choice for all families seeking time together, The Potter”s House also has a variety of services for both parents and children. “We offer a parenting committee called PAC (Parenting Advocate Committee) that”s held once a month.”# Tobias continues, “During this meeting, parents are able to meet and talk with other parents whose children are seeking treatment. The parents give us feedback on our services while also attending training skills classes on specific topics, including discussions on identifying your child”s symptoms and recommending coping strategies.”# The center also hosts a number of family fun nights that include dinner and multiple activities to enhance family engagement and bonding experiences.

The treatment center also strives to assist households where one or both parents are employed and unable to provide transportation. The Therapeutic Adventure Program (or TAP) enables children to be transported to treatment after school. “We offer transportation to our facility, so the children can attend their scheduled individual and group sessions. During TAP, we also provide the children with a snack, dinner and transportation home,”# she says. To accommodate families lacking transportation, the treatment center also provides free transportation within a 20-mile radius. Super Saturday is another favorite amongst kids and operates similar to TAP, including transportation to and from the child”s weekend therapy sessions, breakfast, lunch and a group field trip.

If a child is more comfortable receiving treatment at the home, The Potter”s House can send a community support therapist (CSTs) to the child”s home to conduct therapy. They also provide behavioral aids that go to the child”s school and give support to the child in class. These aids help redirect the child when they get off task, decreasing the negative behaviors in the classroom.

So with the incredible array of services offered, what is The Potter”s House planning for the future? Although the center currently only treats children, they hope to expand their services to the parents who visit the facility with their children. “We would love to treat both parents and children, so we can care for the entire family under one roof.”

The Potter”s House Family and Children Treatment Center will continue to serve the needs of children and their families in our community and provide constant care and support to children to help them become self-sufficient and productive adults.

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