Recently two Trinity Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Programs (STRTP), Trinity Apple Valley and Trinity El Monte, collaborated to help find a young man a permanent home. Justin (named changed for confidentiality reasons) successfully completed his program at Apple Valley and his transition plan called for him to reconnect with family.
Due to family circumstances, he was unable to go home with his mother, so finding another family member was essential for this young man to gain permanency. According to Justin, the judge in his case did not want him to give up hope for connecting with family and Justin was tasked to identify other family members. With the help of Trinity Apple Valley, they started the process using common sense searches to look for additional family options, adoptions, and explore individuals that may fall under the non-related family member category.
Because Justin was from Los Angeles and the program wanted to connect him with a family member, he was transferred from Trinity’s Apple Valley program to the one in El Monte in September 2018. The Apple Valley program worked closely with El Monte to ensure the handoff was effective and that there was no lapse in the continuum of services provided to Justin, so the transition was successful. The treatment team at El Monte continued the work of Apple Valley by providing a multitude of mental health services, supportive services, promoting a sense of value and accountability, reinforcing positive behavior and transferring to a new high school, with the goal of reunification and permanency ultimately in mind.
The treatment teams at Apple Valley and El Monte programs engaged Justin by exploring all options for pathways to permanency. Justin identified his grandfather as an option, who was subsequently approved as a viable home. The programs collaborated with the Los Angeles County Probation Department to obtain approval for family therapy sessions and Child and Family Team (CFT) Meeting’s, first at Apple Valley and then at El Monte, via telephone with the grandfather because he lives in another state.
Justin accomplished several things while at Trinity El Monte including actively participating in mental health treatment, individual and family therapy, therapeutic behavior programs, substance abuse groups and independent living skills groups, among others and he was able to graduate high school. Most notable was the reunification with his grandfather who committed to providing a stable, permanent home for Justin post-graduation. Justin expressed his elation for the move and excitement about his life after Trinity El Monte. Justin is looking forward to attending college.
This journey to permanency is significant as it exemplified the successful collaboration between the Trinity STRTPs and the Los Angeles County Probation Department. The challenge was not only ensuring services were provided but finding a permanent home which was always the main goal from the first Children and Family Team Meeting. Justin is thankful to Trinity Apple Valley and El Monte for their assistance in his journey. Special thanks go to the Children’s Foundation of America for purchasing the plane ticket for Justin to fly “home” to be with his grandfather.
John Neiuber, Chief Executive Officer
John leads an agency that serves over 500 children and families daily through residential therapeutic services, mental health programs, foster care agency and adoption services. He received his master’s degrees from California State University, San Bernardino. He is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and received the Army Commendation Medal. John has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and district office administrator in the public schools, and a management and leadership consultant to public agencies and private industry. He was the CEO of Advanced Education Services and became the chief operating officer of Trinity Youth Services in 2002 and CEO in 2005.
By Ramon Gutierrez
Back in 1999, I was a resident at Trinity Yucaipa. I just wanted to say thank you. I grew up with an extremely hard life. I was a delinquent. I was always in trouble. I was prison bound. I had no family on my side; I had no one in my corner. My own mother did horrible things to me. I really had no one. I was roaming the streets; I was easily influenced by others. I was broken. I thrived on doing bad things and breaking the law. And my family had completely given up on me. My mother abandoned me. I lived with my aunt and uncle. And they gave up on me. They even told the courts that they wanted nothing to do with me. And I used that as an excuse to mess-up.
I went to juvenile hall, where I was incarcerated for five months and then I got interviewed by Trinity Yucaipa. It took a while, but with the help of the staff that really showed interest in me, it turned my whole life around. They really showed me that I could do something with my life. Whenever I would mess-up, they would show me the correct way of doing things. The teachers really showed me I can do this. And showed me I was just really being lazy.
I enjoyed going to school. I earned a letterman jacket that was one of the best feelings I ever had. While there were kids who took things for granted, I really enjoyed going to school. I maintained a job in the Trinity dining hall throughout my stay there. What I’m really trying to say is I learned skills there that really changed my life and helped me do a 180 turnaround with my life for the better. All because of the help and love and support I received at Trinity Yucaipa. Especially I want to thank Gil (Director of Residential Services), he really inspired me and helped me through a lot of tough times in my life.
However, my journey wasn’t over. I then went to another group home. I maintained a job at McDonald’s for three years and I graduated high school with a 3.75 GPA. I went to Colorado University where I graduated and received my bachelor’s degree in business management.
Now I live in Midland, TX and have a wife, a 13-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. I am a dispatch supervisor for one of the biggest oil companies in the country. Not a day goes by that I don’t remember where I came from, and that Trinity Yucaipa was a big part of my life. Thank you for all that you guys have done for me.
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