ACH Child and Family Services staff, donors and supporters gather for the dedication ceremony of a residential treatment program for highest need youth
|Pictured: Robert Ferguson and ACH CEO Wayne Carson|
FORT WORTH, Texas (Jan. 15, 2021)- ACH Child and Family Services named The Robert and Jane Ferguson Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in a ceremony Thursday. The Fergusons and prominent RTC donors were honored for their contributions to this unique facility, as well as volunteer chairs Kelly Keller and Lynn Newman who led the fundraising campaign.
“We have been involved with youth care and developmental organizations in one way or another all of our married life,” says Robert Ferguson. “This comes from our Christian faith and deep personal belief that youth need to have an equal as possible opportunity to develop as they become adults in our country. The new Residential Treatment Center fulfills our goals. There’s no other like it in DFW or Texas today, and we are proud to be part of this experience.”
The RTC is designed to help foster youth with significant behavioral or mental health challenges. As the need for these services was and continues to be so great within our local community, ACH opened the RTC in August 2019 before it was fully funded in late 2020.
“By helping teens understand that they are safe, valued, respected, and have a purpose, they can begin to trust safe and caring adults and begin to heal from their trauma,” said ACH CEO Wayne Carson. “The Robert and Jane Ferguson Residential Treatment Center is one-of-a-kind in Texas and is crucial to providing these teens the support they need to begin to heal. We are so grateful to the Fergusons and other generous donors who made this possible.”
ACH identified a significant lack of programs for teens with severe challenges after state leaders asked ACH to improve foster care services in 2014. By pioneering Community-Based Care in seven North Texas counties (CPS Region 3b.), the Our Community Our Kids (OCOK) division of ACH coordinates services for and compiles information on 2,400 foster youth annually. In analyzing this information, ACH uncovered a gap in services for teens in need of healing from severe trauma and created an innovative program centered around the RTC.
Tarrant and other counties now have an innovative, secure facility for the most vulnerable youth in the foster care system—those who have experienced extreme abuse and neglect. The RTC’s 24-hour treatment teams will put these highest-need teens on an accelerated path to success.
Created to feel non-institutional with a peaceful atmosphere full of natural light, the RTC can serve 16 boys and girls ages 13-17 in separate dorm-like wings. Youth attend an on-site charter school and enjoy fresh air in a 1.5-acre outdoor space with a walking path and basketball court.
The goal is to connect these youth in less than a year with a support system and help them transition to successfully living in a family—the best setting to continue to develop and learn to become an independent, contributing member of society.
The RTC is the only one of its kind in Texas and joins professional home-based care, therapeutic foster care, support services, and foster care in the ACH Continuum of Care. These integrated services were developed by OCOK to reconnect children with their biological families or when that is not possible, to find them a forever family with relatives or adoptive families.