Varied needs and a variety of ways to answer them.
A model for the nation since 1979.
Letot Center is licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and provides 24-hour assessments, crisis intervention, emergency shelter, outpatient counseling and referral services free of charge to Dallas County residents. In 2009 alone, the Center’s professional staff of 60 served more than 2,000 young people and their families, conducting 15,424 counseling sessions and handling more than 3,000 crisis calls. Forty-eight volunteers supplemented the staff’s efforts by donating 2,000 hours of their time.
Letot Center Intake Unit
The Intake Unit provides immediate, 24-hour family crisis intervention, assessment and referral services for Dallas County offenders and runaway youth referred by police. The Intake staff is responsible for placing youth back with parents or in a shelter program within six hours. Staff members work aggressively to engage parents in counseling and divert shelter placement by providing follow-up non-residential counseling and support services. When needed, an eight-bed transitional unit provides referred youth with temporary housing. In 2009, the Intake Unit served 1,341 children and teens. Sixty-nine percent were released to parents or relatives after crisis intervention and referrals to a network of more than 135 community-based partners.
Letot Center Non-residential Services
Services include deferred prosecution and crisis intervention. Probation officers support a monioring of first time offenders to decrease the probability of future juvenile arrests. In addition, a truancy probation officer works with school districts, judges and youth service agencies to help ensure class attendance. In 2009, 546 youth and families participated in non-residential support services.
Letot Center Residential Services
Residential services accommodates up to two dozen girls and eight boys in three dormitories. Although they are not restricted from leaving the facility, 98 percent choose to stay until they are discharged, at which time 74 percent are successfully reunited with their families. The Center’s highly structured and intensive program emphasizes each resident’s talents and assets. Activities include journaling, yoga, visual arts, creative writing, sports and exercise. Individual, group and family counseling helps build decision-making, stress-management and anger-management skills while fostering positive relationships and character development. In 2009, Letot Center served 427 kids and its beds were full 88 percent of the time.
Programs provided by the Center’s professional staff with support from professional agencies and trained volunteers include:
- Education services provided by the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Charter School
- HIV and STD testing and education through the Dallas County Health Department
- Suicide and depression screening with support from the Suicide and Crisis Center
- Psychological testing, psychiatric consultation and psychotropic medication education through the Clinical Unit with Juvenile Department Psychology Services
- Non-denominational church programs supported by volunteer chaplains
Three Charter School teachers assist children and teens in continuing their education. For many, it’s their first positive school experience. In classes limited to 12 students, teachers work to reintegrate kids successfully into the appropriate school settings or GED programs. Teachers often succeed in enrolling students who were dropped from school rolls due to excessive truancy or who never enrolled in the first place.
Letot Center Clinical Unit
This Unit is home to the Psychology Division, staffed by a supervising psychologist and three master-degreed therapists. The team provides stability and ongoing support through crisis screening and intervention, followed by inpatient and outpatient individual and family therapy. Therapy with shelter residents focuses on improving skills, while outpatient therapy focuses on enhancing family function. The Clinical Unit also provides inpatient and outpatient services for girls at risk of being exploited, employing a specialized assessment tool and curriculum called HOPE (Helping Overcome and Prevent Exploitation), developed by professionals on the Letot Center staff.