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TCOOMMI JR. – Teaching skills, changing lives Bookmark

Making a difference in a child or adolescent’s life is not always easy, but the staff of the Mental Health Forensic Services Division at The Harris Center strives to do just that every day. Through a variety of programs, children and adolescents who are involved in the juvenile justice system in Harris County receive treatment and services that address some of the root causes that led them there in the first place.

 

The most intensive of these programs is the Juvenile Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical and Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI) Program, which is commonly referred to as TCOOMMI Jr. This program has served juvenile offenders ages 10-17 who are on probation or parole in Harris County in their schools and homes since 2001 through a collaboration between The Harris Center, the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD) and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD).

 

According to Betty F. Adams LMSW, LMFT, Assistant Deputy Director for Mental Health Forensic Services at The Harris Center, the main goal of TCOOMMI Jr. is to help “control symptoms of mental illness through medication and other therapies, provide support and coordination, provide intensive supervision, develop a network of agency and community resources, reduce recidivism and increase awareness through consumer and family education.”

 

Licensed mental health professionals from The Harris Center partner with probation and parole officers from the HCJPD and the TJJD to provide psychiatric evaluations, diagnosis of mental health conditions, medication management, skills training, psychotherapy, intensive case management and resource referral and linkage. Referrals for this program come from the HCJPD and the TJJD, and the length of time a youth may participate is based on clinical necessity. Along with the HCJPD and the TJJD, the TCOOMMI Jr. clinical staff work toward ensuring that the child or adolescent is “stabilized, does not re-offend and learns appropriate coping and decision making skills to become a productive and law abiding citizen,” said Adams.

 

“They are providing these kids with a set of skills to use to help them reduce those behaviors that got them into the system,” said Adams.

 

Once the individual has completed services through TCOOMMI Jr., they may be referred to one of the other child and adolescent programs at The Harris Center to continue their treatment and, most importantly, changing their life for the better.

 

“These youth deserve the chance to lead healthy, productive lives. TCOOMMI Jr. is here to give them the tools they need to make that goal a reality,” said Adams.

 

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