Unique experiences and needs unite military-connected families. That’s why The Barry Robinson Center’s residential treatment program is completely focused on serving children and teens from military-connected families. The residential program helps families manage mental health diagnoses and co-occurring substance abuse issues.
“After we became a TRICARE-approved provider in 2012, we began treating more military-connected kids,” said Rob McCartney, the Center’s CEO. “Over time, our clinicians and other staff members – many of whom have military experience – began to align our program structure to meet the unique needs of these kids and their families. As a result, we’ve become more intentional in fostering an environment that’s conducive to their success in treatment.”
Some of the steps the Center has taken to enhance the quality of care for military-connected families include:
- Committing to train all staff in military culture and lifestyle
- Specializing in attachment disorder, which is closely associated with military
- Developing relationships with military partners that are invested in Barry Robinson’s mission and who provide excellent support
Its location in southeastern Virginia positions the Center well to work with military-connected families. The region has one of the nation’s highest concentration of active duty military and veterans, more than 300,000, not including their dependents.
“We’re part of their community, and it’s our privilege to serve these families,” McCartney said. “But our reach extends well beyond Norfolk and Virginia Beach, all along the east coast and into other areas of the United States. Several families stationed overseas have trusted their children to us, and we take that responsibility seriously. Parents tell us they appreciate how fully our staff members understand their lifestyle.”
The Barry Robinson Center has designed its residential treatment protocols and programming for children and teens with shared military family experiences. When these youth feel they can relate to their peers in the milieu, especially in group therapy, they experience acceptance and understanding. In turn, this makes them more likely to be engaged and receptive to treatment.
As a nonprofit organization with a distinct mission, the Center can meet TRICARE’s high standards for care. McCartney said the board of directors fully supports the Center’s focus and investment to serve military-connected families.
“Every program has a niche, and military-connected families are our niche,” McCartney said. “We’re focusing our energy on supporting our employees’ professional growth, enabling them to develop even more expertise in serving kids from military-connected families.”