Get Involved-Spotlight: Austin Child Guidance Center
Austin Child Guidance Center was established in 1951 as Austin’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to affordable children’s mental health care. Our multidisciplinary team includes a psychiatrist, psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, and family therapists who work with families through therapy, parent education, psychological assessments, and psychiatric evaluations to ensure that children receive the high-quality, comprehensive mental health care, in one centralized location and at a price they can afford, that they each deserve. Seventy to eighty percent of our clients are low-income or working poor; our sliding fee scale ensures that all families who walk through our doors are able to receive the help they need.
Our mission is to improve the mental health of children and families through early intervention, diagnosis, and treatment to help them develop the emotional skills for meeting life’s challenges. We remain faithful to that mission because there is such a large and critical need for the specialized services we provide. The families that come to Austin Child Guidance Center are going through some of the roughest times in their lives. We help children who are living in abusive or neglectful homes; children who have disorders like ADHD, anxiety, or depression; children who have been victims or witnesses of crime; pregnant and parenting adolescents and their children; teenagers who are incarcerated in the juvenile justice center; and school-age children who are learning social skills and violence prevention. Each year, we serve over 3,000 children and family members.
- Assessing and treating children not in isolation, but as part of a family and community system. Because children sometimes act out or develop problems as a result of living in chaotic situations, we make every effort to include family and the greater community in each child’s treatment plan.
- Providing services that are responsive to the needs of clients. We strive to remove barriers or obstacles that often prevent a child or family from participating in a recommended course of treatment. We also work collaboratively with other agencies in order to better serve our clients when we alone are unable to meet their needs.
- Serving our clients in a manner that takes into account cultural differences. We recognize the diversity of clients and deliver services in a manner that is culturally sensitive and appropriate.
- Adhering to the highest standards developed by the field to assure quality and to regularly assess the effectiveness of services delivered. Austin Child Guidance Center has been accredited by the Joint Commission since 1981. We constantly collect and analyze data regarding the effectiveness of the services we deliver and make changes in order to improve client outcomes.
- Being good stewards of the money and resources that have been given to us to operate the Center. We express our gratitude to our donors not only by making sure that they are properly thanked and recognized, but that we spend their money wisely and maintain all buildings and property in a responsible, cost-effective manner.
Services and Programs:
Austin Child Guidance Center offers mental health treatment to children, up to age 17, and their family members at a central location in Austin as well as in various community settings. All of our services are tailored to the individual needs and personal circumstances of each family. Families may participate in one or a combination of any of the following mental health services at Austin Child Guidance Center:
- Individual, family, and group therapy
- Parent education and conferences
- Psychological assessments and consultations
- Psychiatric evaluations and consultations
- Medication management and medical consultations
Our programs and community collaborations include the following:
Next Step is an early intervention program that works with children – ages 4 through 17 – in small groups to help teach them to resolve conflicts, express their feelings in safe ways, and to learn how to make good choices or decisions.
Juvenile Justice Services at the Travis County Juvenile Court seeks to reduce juvenile drug use and delinquent behavior by juvenile offenders, ages 14 through 16, through intensive collaboration among juvenile justice service providers in Travis County. Austin Child Guidance Center provides mental health screenings; psychiatric and psychological services; individual, family, and group therapy; and clinical consultation and training to staff.
TANDEM is a collaboration to promote optimal levels of health, educational and vocational achievement, and social and family functioning and to reduce the risk of subsequent pregnancies among participating teenagers. Austin Child Guidance Center provides individual, group, and family therapy, psychological/psychiatric evaluations, and consultation to the project.
Community Partners for Children (CPC) is a collaboration of public and private agencies that provides needed mental health, social services and intensive case management to children and families who have multiple needs that cannot be met by one agency.
Crime Victims’ Recovery Project (CVRP) is a program that helps children and families recover from the psychological effects of crime, violence, and abuse. Any child or adolescent who was a victim or witness to crime or violence and their families are eligible for treatment services at no cost.
Travis County Leadership Academy is a program of the Gardner-Betts Juvenile Justice Center whereby Austin Child Guidance Center provides individual and group services to adolescent clients at the Leadership Academy facility.
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Project is collaborative project working to positively impact the mental health of our youngest children in local childcare and day care settings. Parents and childcare staff receive training and consultation on how to identify and help children with emotional and behavioral concerns.
Austin Child Guidance Center has a variety of volunteer opportunities:
1. Child Care: Play leaders supervise children as they wait for their appointments or while their parents consult with therapists. Activities include outdoor play, artwork, reading, games, and watching movies.
2. Toy Cleaning: This is a full-day task during which volunteers thoroughly clean all of Austin Child Guidance Center’s toys in order to keep us all healthy!
3. Gardening: Austin Child Guidance Center’s Children’s Healing Garden is a sustainable garden with native plants and trees. Volunteers spread mulch and granite, weed, plant, and provide general maintenance in order to keep the Garden safe and beautiful for clients and the community.
4. Adopt-A-Family: Seventy to eighty percent of Austin Child Guidance Center’s clients are low-income or working poor. Holidays are especially difficult for these families, so each year volunteer groups receive wish lists from client families who are struggling to make ends meet. The volunteer groups gather and wrap gifts for the families and deliver them to Austin Child Guidance Center for the families to pick up at their therapy appointments.
5. Adopt-A-Therapist: Therapists use a variety of toys, arts and crafts, sports equipment, games, dolls, and other therapeutic supplies with many children, every day. These supplies get worn out rather quickly, so it is always wonderful to have volunteers who fulfill the wish lists of our therapists.
Austin Child Guidance Center
810 W. 45th Street
Austin, TX 78751
Phone: (512) 451-2242 Fax: (512) 454-9204