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Supporting Girls Through Excelsior’s Community Based Services Program

Photo of Elisa who is being helped by Excelsior's Community Based Program

By Jim Uhernik, Director of Business Development and Admissions

Since its introduction in 2010 Excelsior’s Community Based Services (CBS) Program has been going strong providing comprehensive mental health services to girls and their families throughout the greater Denver-Metro area. As the Director of Community Based Services, Matt Louzon, LPC has led a diverse treatment team of staff who are highly dedicated to working with some of the most vulnerable girls in our community. It has been the major objective to help girls maintain safety and stability in the community while learning new skills and more effective coping strategies.

For almost 40 years Excelsior’s name has been synonymous with “residential treatment” for girls but more recently this has changed. In the last year Excelsior has expanded its continuum of “non-residential” services and currently approximately 25% of all services provided by Excelsior are through the Community Based Services Program. Just one year ago only 9% of services were from CBS. Our coverage area has also grown from the greater Denver-Metro Area to, more recently, expanding services to El Paso County. Excelsior’s CBS program provides a variety of services to families which include: Day Treatment, Respite Care, Psychiatric services including Medication Management, Home-Based services including Behavior Coaching and Individual and Family Therapy and 24/7 Crisis Intervention.

While there are many outpatient treatment programs in Colorado, Excelsior’s CBS program sets itself apart by providing services that are highly individualized and adaptable for our girls and their families. Treatment is facilitated by experienced staff including: psychiatrists, psychologists, master's level psychotherapists and direct care staff and behavior coaches. CBS staff are trained in Trauma Informed Care, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

In the last couple years that Excelsior’s CBS program has been providing services we have seen many successes. According to Matt Louzon we have seen a huge impact attributed to removing barriers to treatment. It has been a great relief to families to have services in-home. In addition, Excelsior has been able to help family members with transportation for court, staffing and healthcare appointments. When families are feeling less stressed, they can be more committed to treatment and we have seen better outcomes.

Another reason for success is that CBS does not use a “one-size-fits-all” model of treatment. While there is a general, well defined, framework of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBS staff utilize a variety of tools to help girls learn new skills, address trauma and become more functional and stable in their home and community. Some girls may respond well to traditional talk therapy, others have shown a lot of success utilizing DBT or EMDR. More recently we have been able to facilitate Equine Therapy for girls and their families through the Horseback Miracles program in Perry Park, CO. This has shown great results in helping the family system.

Finally, and most importantly, Excelsior’s CBS program has worked diligently to help girls and their families identify and connect with sustainable community resources. For success to be long term, it is critical that girls and their families be able to build a strong network of resources that are beyond the child welfare or mental health system. Often this means building the support network to include neighbors, relatives and churches. Also, utilizing money generously donated from the Anschutz Foundation, CBS staff has been able to connect girls with health club memberships and vocational and recreational classes in the community.

Excelsior’s CBS program has enabled us to have a strong continuum of services which has greatly helped to keep girls out of higher levels of care and be stable at home with their families.

Between now and the end of October, if you donate to Excelsior, your donation will be matched by the Anschutz Foundation. Please click here to make a donation.