Alexander has combined a variety of treatment programs into a complete Service Array; a series of programs that work together from start to finish. As a child grows and improves, we can offer the stability of customized treatment that keeps intact his safety net of friends and the professionals he has grown to trust. Positive changes have a chance to take root and he learns new patterns and behaviors. He improves faster and the results last longer.
Without a Service Array
Children are moved repeatedly to get the treatment they need. Relationships fragment and treatment becomes difficult.
With a Service Array
Because relationships have a chance to stay intact, positive changes take root and children learn new patterns and behaviors. They improve faster and the results last longer.
Our Service Array
Alexander’s Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility is located on the campus of Alexander Children’s Center in Charlotte. The 36-bed treatment unit serves children ages 5-14 with severe emotional, behavioral and psychological problems who need a highly structured, therapeutic environment. All services are provided under the direction of a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist with nursing on site 24-hours a day. Individualized treatment plans are designed by an interdisciplinary team along with family members and other stakeholders. Service plan reviews and updates are conducted every 30 days. Family involvement is encouraged and Alexander provides two family cottages on site and allows families to visit without charge. Children live in cottages on Alexander’s 60-acre wooded campus. Amenities include a gym, indoor pool, and cafeteria. Meals are prepared and served in Alexander’s cafeteria, and the nutrition program follows USDA guidelines for school meals. Please read our Wellness Policy for further information.
Day Treatment is a highly individualized treatment option for children who have social and behavioral problems that create challenges for them in traditional classroom settings. In addition to academics, therapists and qualified professionals provide therapy, therapeutic recreation and stress management to help children better manage their emotions and behaviors. In Alexander’s Day Treatment programs, every interaction is viewed as an opportunity for behavioral change. Children who experience success with this therapeutic option can be integrated back into their regular classrooms.
Alexander Youth Network Outpatient Therapy provides individual, group and/or family psychotherapy and consultative services to children ages 5 through 18, and their families. While the child is the primary recipient of therapy, Alexander maintains that the parents, family and/or primary caregivers be active participants in the treatment process. This allows for greater long-term success for both the child and the family unit.
Areas of therapeutic specialty include:
- Behavior management for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Oppositional Defiant Disorder;
- Therapy for past traumatic issues related to physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence and/or loss of biological family;
- Developing appropriate anger management techniques; and
- Pre- and Post-Adoption counseling for children and parents adopting difficult-to-place youth.
- During the initial session, each child will have a psychosocial assessment and a treatment plan will be designed to meet the individual needs of the child and/or family. The treatment plan will include goals, objectives, interventions and target dates. Recommendation for treatment and any other referrals for evaluation or services are fully discussed.
- Treatment approaches include insight-oriented therapy, cognitive restructuring, behavioral techniques, solution-oriented brief therapy, play therapy and reality-based therapy. The child’s ability to communicate as well as the goals of the treatment plan determine the approach used.
- Collaborative work is performed as appropriate including consulting with academic professionals, special documentation for court reports and consultative reports to primary care providers.
- Services are available during normal business hours with 24-hour emergency on call support by the clinical staff.
- Psychological testing is provided by a licensed psychologist and medication management is provided by Alexander’s medical director and licensed child and adolescent psychiatrist.
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker or a Licensed Clinical Psychologist provides therapy in a private office environment. Therapy sessions occur on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on the need of the child and/or family. A board-certified psychiatrist serves as medical director for outpatient services and is available for consultation as needed.
Therapeutic Foster Care
The Therapeutic Foster Care Program at Alexander Youth Network provides homes for children and adolescents who need treatment for mental health problems, trauma-based behaviors, or severe emotional disturbances. As one service in our full array, Therapeutic Foster Care helps ensure that children in our care have access to the whole solution without having to leave the relationships and trust they’ve built with our professionals.
We give our foster parents the support they need to provide love, structure and healing to our children. We are beside our foster parents every step of the way – through the application and screening process, training and licensing – as we prepare them for the challenges of therapeutic foster care. Our professional treatment coaches offer support and direction and are available for crisis assistance and consultation around the clock. We provide respite when our parents need a break and opportunities for them to interact with other foster parents to learn new skills and gain additional peer support.
Rapid Response Crisis Homes
Alexander’s Rapid Response Crisis Homes Program provides immediate and temporary out-of-home placement for a child with mental health disorders to prevent hospitalization or removal from an existing placement. Therapeutic families are specially trained to help stabilize and monitor a child’s behavior while the existing family works with professionals and other support systems in the community to reassess the child’s needs and to determine the most appropriate next steps. Treatment is limited to two weeks.
Specialized Foster Care
Alexander offers specialized foster care services to children throughout North Carolina who are able to live in a traditional family setting. The program is flexible and can be individualized according to the child’s needs, enabling Alexander to serve both children needing longer-term specialized foster care and those in transition to other settings. All children served in the Specialized Foster Care service are in the legal custody of their local Department of Social Services.
Intensive In-Home (IIH) is a home and community based treatment designed to meet the needs of families who are having a difficult time managing the behavior of a child with a diagnosed mental health need. Alexander Youth Network’s IIH program is just that, “intensive,” in that it provides concentrated treatment to address a current crisis and/or to decrease the risk of a youth being removed from their home. In some cases, a child may have already been removed from their home and IIH can assist with successful reunification with their family.
How does Intensive In-Home Help?
- Assists youth and family/caregivers in identifying and managing triggers, cues and symptoms for problem behaviors.
- Helps reduce problem behaviors by involving key family members in the treatment process.
- Improves the family’s ability to parent a child with behavioral or emotional problems.
- Further develops the family’s communication skills.
- Improves youth’s functioning at home, in school and community settings.
IIH is provided by a team of three professionals consisting of a Licensed Clinician and two Coordinators. Team members meet with the youth and/or family 2-4 times per week providing individual and family therapy, direct interventions for behavioral modification, skill building, and referral/linkage to community resources. Sessions primarily occur in the home but will also occur at community settings (including schools). The length of treatment is 3 to 5 months, with more service provided in the first months to stabilize the home environment.
IIH is an effective treatment method for youth ages 3-20 with serious emotional and behavioral problems including:
- Acting out, disruptive and/or aggressive behaviors
- Serious defiant and/or noncompliant behaviors
- Significant behavioral problems in the home or school
- Depression and other severe mood issues
- Runaway behaviors
What is Alexander’s Treatment Approach?
IIH develops individualized Person Centered Plans for youth based on results from a clinical assessment along with the youth and family’s input. Alexander’s IIH services primarily utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is an evidence-based practice that operates on the basic assumption that thoughts strongly influence feelings and behavior. The IIH team works with the youth and family to identify negative or distorted thoughts contributing to behavioral issues, then employs interventions to change these thoughts into more productive thoughts, resulting in more desirable behaviors. While CBT is our primary treatment modality, we also employ principles from the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics™ (NMT). NMT is a research-based approach that helps staff determine the strengths and vulnerabilities of a child based on their individual past.
The therapist then creates individualized sets of therapeutic activities that match the child’s needs in various domains of functioning (i.e., social, emotional, cognitive and physical). This approach treats the underlying issues which allows a child’s functioning to improve.
Alexander Youth Network provides Multi-systemic Therapy (MST) to adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 years and their families. MST is an intensive family- and community-based treatment program that addresses the multiple determinants of antisocial behavior in adolescents. MST is research-focused and outcome-driven. It has proven to be a cost-effective program that aims to decrease the rates of incarceration and out-of-home placements.
The primary purpose of assessments is to understand the “fit” between identified problems and their broader systemic context.
- Therapeutic contacts should emphasize the positive and be strength focused.
- Interventions are designed to promote responsible behavior and decrease irresponsible behavior in families.
- Interventions should be present-focused and action-oriented, targeting specific and well-defined problems.
- Interventions should target sequences of behavior within or between multiple systems that maintain identified problems.
- Interventions should be developmentally appropriate and fit the developmental needs of the adolescent.
- Interventions should be designed to require daily or weekly effort by the family members.
- Evaluation of the interventions is done continuously, with the providers assuming accountability for overcoming barriers to successful outcomes.
- Interventions are designed to promote generalization and long-term maintenance of therapeutic change by empowering families to address the family needs across multiple systems.
MST is a highly supervised and consulted program that uses the Family Preservation Model of service delivery. MST views individuals as being nested within many interconnected systems that include individual, family, peer, and community factors. Services are provided for several hours per week within the multiple systems. The average duration of services is 3 to 5 months. Services are available 365 days per year, with staff being on call 24/7.
Staff aim to meet the ultimate goals of empowering parents with the skills and resources to independently address the difficulties that arise in raising adolescents. Staff also aim to empower adolescents to cope with family, peer, school, and community problems. Staff aim to achieve these goals with the families by providing individual, family, and marital therapy, along with community based services. Goals are formally set through continuous treatment planning and creating weekly intermediary goals. The overarching goals of the MST program are to reduce criminal activity, reduce other types of antisocial behaviors such as drug use and truancy, and achieve outcomes at a cost savings to the communities.
The program consists of 3 therapists and 1 clinical supervisor/program manager. MST is provided by masters-level therapists, who receive on-site supervision by an experienced masters-level and licensed mental health professional. Therapists are selected based upon individual strengths and attributes that will combine well with the program’s principles. Consultation is provided by MST Services in Charleston, S.C. Staff are privileged to provide the level of services that reflect their degree and experience. MST staff are first aid and CPR trained, and have successfully completed 30 hours of MST-specific training. Supervision and consultation occur on a weekly basis.
Alexander provides Rapid Response Crisis Homes in Mecklenburg County to offer brief treatment, structure and supervision to children with serious emotional disturbance. The program also can provide temporary relief to primary caregivers in order to reduce the constant and often stressful care of the child. This periodic service may be provided on either a planned or an emergency basis. In either case, the service is designed to support family stability, prevent abuse and neglect, provide short-term treatment, structure and supervision for the child, provide a therapeutic environment in which to conduct a comprehensive child and family assessment/evaluation, and prevent or minimize the need for lengthier and/or more intensive out-of-home placement.
Getting help at Alexander Youth Network means getting the whole solution, having the services you need, without having to leave the professionals you will come to trust. It all starts with an assessment.
All treatment options are completed by specially trained clinicians at Alexander Youth Network.
Children process emotional trauma differently. Following a traumatic event, we focus on each child’s unique neurobiological response.
Our assessment is based upon the child’s stress response measured using the following tools:
- Clinical interview of guardian, caretaker, and child using Alexander Youth Network’s Clinical Comprehensive Assessment
- Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children
- UCLA Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Index
Our clinical staff will generate a detailed report based upon the assessment that defines the impact of the trauma and the presence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The report features a “recommendations” section that addresses what techniques and therapies could be used to treat trauma-related symptoms in the child.
Functional Brain Map
Trauma can create serious mental injury in children. Through a process of structured data collection, we can develop a “map” of a child’s current brain functioning. This map tells us which parts of the brain need the most attention and healing. The functional brain mapping process assists clinicians to match the type and timing of specific therapeutic interventions to the neurodevelopmental needs of the child.
We create a brain map using the following tools:
– Medical record review
– Clinical interview with the caretakers, guardians, and other team members
– Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics Functional Brain Map
Functional Brain Map feedback includes a written report and a 90-minute clinical consultation during which we will explain the brain map and make a treatment recommendation.
During a psychological evaluation, we obtain information about a child’s general intellect and emotional function to determine a probable diagnosis and inform a basis of treatment.
We evaluate each child uniquely by using the following tools:
- Brief clinical interview
- Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-IV
- Wide Range Achievement Test
- Connors Behavior Checklist
- Rorschach Inkblot Technique
A complete psychological evaluation will include the results of each individual test and a summary of findings. We will offer a diagnostic impression (if requested) and treatment recommendations.
Alexander Youth Network provides Diagnostic Assessment services to children and youth who are in need of a clinical determination for treatment. This service is available to those who are new to the mental health system and for whom a determination is needed as to the appropriate level of services to meet their needs. Alexander serves those who voluntarily seek help, as well as those who are ordered by the courts to receive a diagnostic assessment.
The Relatives Youth Crisis Center
The Relatives is a co-ed, 9-bed emergency shelter located in Charlotte that serves runaway, homeless and other youth in crisis ages 7-17. Youth may reside at the shelter for up to 14 days, or they may receive referrals, problem-solving, and support through a walk-in appointment or the crisis hotline. Alexander staff provide 24-hour supervision, individual and family conferences, community referrals, educational activities and transportation to and from school. Youth may be referred by County Departments of Social Services, school systems, law enforcement agencies or other community resources. Clients pay no fee for services. Funding is provided by federal, state and local grants, foundations, corporations and individuals.