The Desert Hills, Inc. Group Homes program is licensed and certified by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department to work with clients in developing independent living skills that promote successful discharges back into the community. The Group Homes provide around-the-clock, seven-days-a-week, on-call clinical supervision, life skills training, case management services, and minimal therapy. The Group Homes program is designed to provide care for seriously emotionally disturbed children and adolescents in a setting where skilled staff can help them develop more appropriate behavioral control and independent living skills. The goal of this program is to ultimately teach each client everything he or she needs to know in order to be a functional adult in the community.
The Group Homes program utilizes the theoretical approaches of Cognitive-Behavioral techniques, including the Matrix Model, Trauma-Informed Care Strategies, and the Nurtured Heart Approach.
Group Home Services
The Group Homes program is prepared to offer individual therapy as needed to all Group Homes clients. Family therapy may also be implemented, if deemed appropriate and beneficial to the client. All clients participate in weekly psychoeducational groups to promote the integration of psychosocial skills. The Group Homes program is also designed to work therapeutically with clients with Intellectual Disabilities/Developmental Delays, histories of sexually maladaptive behaviors, behavioral and mood disorders, and substance use disorders.
Independent Psychosocial Skills Training
All Group Homes staff are trained to facilitate the development and integration of psychosocial skills. Examples of these skills include budgeting, cooking, cleaning, appropriate execution of ADL’s, and utilizing community services for all needs. Clients in the Group Homes will also develop an ability to successfully administer all prescribed medications.
Group Home Referrals
Many of our children have successfully completed treatment in a psychiatric hospital and/or residential treatment center (RTC). The Group Homes can also be an alternative to inpatient or RTC placement. Those who may be appropriate for this program include individuals who are facing the following challenges:
- Ongoing issues that affect their abilities to appropriately control their behavior and live successfully in the community
- Impaired family relationships that prevent them from living at home and/or discharging back home
The Group Homes program addresses issues related to mental health concerns; however, the primary focus will be on learning and implementing much-needed psychosocial skills.
Our services are coordinated with managed care organizations. All adolescents who are placed in the Group Homes program receive assistance from their therapists to secure authorization for placement and corresponding services, which may include the following:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Medication management services, if necessary
- Vocational services
Group Homes Staff
The Clinical Director, who is a Masters-level, licensed professional, provides supervision for all Group Homes staff to maintain clinical standards of care in our program. The Director screens all referrals and supervises admissions and subsequent documentation regarding all client care.
Our Group Homes Therapist, along with the Clinical Director, carefully matches each client assessed for placement with the appropriate Group Home to ensure that all significant treatment concerns are addressed. This decision is then reviewed with the client, as well as with his or her family, if deemed appropriate. The Group Homes therapist organizes the Individualized Comprehensive Treatment Plan and ICMP/Safety Plan, organizes monthly treatment team review meetings, and facilitates ongoing problem-solving efforts to maintain the client’s placement without disruption. This therapist also provides all case management and discharge planning services to the clients.
Our Group Homes Program Director, under the supervision of the Clinical Director, works one-on-one with all clients/families and the Group Homes staff to develop daily programming regimens. This includes daily meal planning, teaching clients to shop on a budget, cleaning schedules, task organization both on and off campus, and managing the daily inter-workings of the program.
Our Group Homes have mental health technicians that work a 1:6 ratio. Staff are present 24/7, working the following schedules: 7am-3pm, 3pm-11pm, and 11pm-7am. All staff have been trained to work with the Group Homes population. In addition, staff reflects the multicultural values and traditions of New Mexico families, modeling respect and acceptance of children from diverse backgrounds. The cultural competence is extended to the Group Homes clients in that they are encouraged to fulfill spiritual/cultural needs in the community with the support of staff.
Ancillary Facility Programs
Psychiatric Consultation and Medication Management
All youth see a Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the community as part of the initial evaluation process, and then continue to do so on an ongoing basis. The frequency of this ongoing psychiatric contact depends on the youth’s specific needs. Desert Hills believes strongly that youth should only have to take the lowest doses of psychotropic medications possible in order to effectively treat the symptoms of the mental health conditions they are suffering from.
Youth at Desert Hills are enrolled in the LADE, Albuquerque Public School System, and/or North Central Accredited private school system, located on the facility grounds. The educational program is a charter school system that incorporates teaching techniques that allow youth with emotional issues to obtain educational services that promote educational success. This is a year-round educational program, providing services 12 months a year, including winter holidays, as well as spring and summer breaks. All Group Homes clients are also encouraged to participate in educational or vocational services in the community to promote independent living skills.