Location is Everything for National Conference of Professionals Who Serve Troubled Teens

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National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs hosts national conference in Tucson, Ariz.

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The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), a national resource for programs and professionals who assist young people beleaguered by emotional and behavioral difficulties, held its annual national conference in Tucson, AZ, last month, a city that made headlines for its own distraught youth who gunned down a Congresswoman and several spectators outside a supermarket on Jan. 8.

The long-standing conference location ended up being an ideal setting for the nearly 600 professionals to gather to discuss best practices for dealing with the nation’s troubled youth.

“NATSAP was pleased to hold its 2011 annual conference in a city as beautiful as Tucson,” said the association’s Executive Director Cliff Brownstein. “While we have had the conference and its location on the schedule for over three years now, recent circumstances truly illustrate the need for therapeutic intervention with many of our nation’s troubled youth.”

Founded in 1999, NATSAP is composed of roughly 175 residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness programs, and young adult programs. In addition to member program staff, the conference, held at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, also included educational consultants and clinical professionals who often refer families to such programs.

“Our member programs and professionals are dedicated to helping teens with a wide variety of issues including depression, bipolar, anxiety disorders and other emotional issues, as well as drug and alcohol use. Finding the right treatment program can be life-changing for these individuals,” said Brownstein.

Conference sessions included topics such as oppositional defiance, self-injury, transition planning, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, and trauma. Initial results from outcomes research also were presented. In addition, Utah’s Director of the Office of Licensing in the Department of Human Services, Ken Stettler, was recognized with this year’s NATSAP Leadership Award for his role in establishing standards of care for troubled youth programs.

The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) is a resource to help inform health care professionals and families about the many residential placement alternatives available to struggling young people. While not an accrediting or licensing body, NATSAP requires its members to be licensed by the appropriate state agency authorized to set and oversee standards of therapeutic and/or behavioral healthcare for youth and adolescents, or accredited by a nationally recognized behavioral health accreditation agency. In addition, therapeutic services must have oversight by a qualified clinician. NATSAP is a volunteer membership organization supporting professionals and programs in their efforts to help troubled young people.

For more information, visit http://www.natsap.org


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Michael Merchant, NATSAP Vice President
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