More than 40 states and six countries – that’s where residents have traveled from to receive treatment at The Barry Robinson Center (BRC) over the past five years.
With a mission to improve the lives of children, BRC helps families navigate challenging situations with mental and behavioral health. Sometimes that means a child’s admission to BRC. Other times, it may involve connecting families with different resources for their children.
Families seeking help always work with members of BRC’s Customer Service Department. With regional military liaisons and an on-campus team, each member of the department provides timely and quality support.
Southeastern and Central Virginia
In Southeastern Virginia and into the Richmond area, Brittany Armentrout ensures families get the support they need to find treatment. Since joining BRC in early 2018, Armentrout helps more than 40 families find their way to BRC each year. She also helps many others that need a different option.
Armentrout has a clinical background, with a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. She worked as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) in the correctional system and both inpatient and outpatient settings before switching to business development.
“Business development is the perfect role as I get to network with other professionals (my favorite part) while also working with and linking youth and families with the services needed,” Armentrout said.
She enjoys all aspects of working for BRC, especially the “family” atmosphere.
“From our CEO providing his personal cell phone number to all families, to the support I’ve received as an employee, I can honestly say BRC is a ‘family first’ employer.”
Northern Virginia is another key service area for BRC. More the 40 families receive services each year, and more families reach out for help to navigate services. Delonte Green works with families and providers in this region. He’s the newest member of the customer service team, joining BRC earlier in 2020.
Green is an Army Reserve veteran, serving eight years on a support command unit. He also has several years of experience working in the behavioral health field. Green has a degree in psychology and worked at Dominion Hospital in Fairfax County, Virginia, helping manage direct care counselors before joining BRC.
“I was attracted to BRC because I love the mission!” he said. “Also given my background and experience, working for BRC represents a culmination of my past work thus far.”
Green joined BRC in spring 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading throughout the country.
“I was surprised by the cohesiveness of the team, despite the fact that I joined BRC during one of the most challenging times in recent memory,” said.
BRC serves more than 40 families from North Carolina each year and helps more than twice that number find quality services to meet their needs. Mary Lanier leads this effort. She has deep roots in North Carolina, as well as strong military connections. Lanier’s father served in Special Operations Forces for 30 years. She was also a military spouse for 12 years.
Lanier recently celebrated her three-year anniversary with BRC. She’s worked in the behavioral health field for 19 years, with federal and state governments, the private sector and nonprofits.
In one of her roles, at Ft. Bragg’s Womack Army Medical Center, Lanier was a case manager at the Warrior Transition Battalion. She helped active duty service members who were transitioning out of the military due to mental or physical challenges. She also worked in Child and Family Member Behavioral Health, coordinating care for families who had children with mental health needs.
“I’ve always wanted to help military families or active duty soldiers, and I was attracted to BRC because we’re 100% military connected,” Lanier explained.
“I am also the mother of two military-connected adult children. My oldest has struggled with her own mental health challenges, which has made me a very resourceful parent. It gives me joy to help other families who are looking for mental health resources and services for their children in a difficult system to navigate at times. “
Around the United States and Beyond
Some families travel hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles to find the right place for treatment. Dr. Chuck Brooks, vice president, will travel anywhere and meet with anyone if it means helping a family in need.
Since joining BRC more than seven years ago, Brooks has held several roles. He assisted with the development of BRC becoming a TRICARE-approved treatment center. He also travels throughout the United States to help extend BRC’s reputation as a national facility and has helped expand outreach to military families serving overseas.
“I also work to assure our families have access to services both pre- and post-admission and at discharge,” he explained. “Our system allows us the unique opportunity to go above and beyond assisting families and referral sources that come to us.”
Brooks has more than 30 years of experience. Prior to joining BRC, he worked in senior management levels in both the public and private health care sectors, taught at the university level and consulted with a number of organizations.
Laura Chaney, BRC’s director of customer relations, helps families with the admissions process. She helps ensure the best possible experience during a difficult time. She’s quick to build a rapport with families, responding with compassion and attention to detail.
“I work to make everyone feel special,” Chaney said. With more than three decades of experience at BRC, she’s an excellent resource for families.
She coordinates the admission day process, meeting families, finalizing paperwork and working with other staff involved in the process.
“We give people a ‘red carpet’ experience,” she said. “I enjoy chatting with families and making them feel comfortable. We’ve streamlined the process as much as possible for them.”
During a child’s time in treatment, parents often call Chaney to check in or ask questions. She helps when she can and connects them with other members of the treatment team as needed. Coming full circle, She meets families again on the day of discharge. She gives each child a BRC “challenge coin,” to recognize their achievement of successfully completing treatment.
Lisa Howard wears and has worn many hats: Army spouse, former Army reservist, social worker, volunteer and mom of two adult children. She has an impressive personal, professional and community service resume with more than 34 years of military-connected service. BRC is fortunate that she’s part of the Customer Service team as public advocate.
As a military spouse for 25 years, Howard and her family have moved many times, including two overseas duty stations. She also has raised a special needs son in the military culture.
“Connector is the probably the best way to describe me,” Howard said. “I listen to the concerns a family member may be struggling with while their child resides at BRC. I also talk with families considering placing a child with BRC.”
Families appreciate her personal understanding of what they’re experiencing while navigating services, educational challenges and other military-connected issues, such as deployments and moves.
Howard also helps build awareness in the military community and make connections for BRC. She represents BRC with AUSA, TRICARE for Kids, MilSpouseFest and other military conferences and groups.
As chief revenue officer, Justin Hoover co-leads the Customer Service team, along with Brooks. He’s been with BRC for six years, quickly advancing through several roles, from student life coordinator to vice president to his current position.
Prior to joining BRC, Hoover worked in the public school system and for a nonprofit residential treatment center in Texas. He was attracted to BRC for a couple reasons.
“When moving back to the region, I found BRC was one of the only non-profits in the behavioral health field in the area,” he explained. “BRC also has a long-standing reputation for providing high quality care. I like working for an organization that puts quality programming above profitability. I always know that no matter the situation, the children and their families come first.
Like many employees, Hoover has a military connection through his wife, an Air Force veteran.
“There’s a real sense of community through the staff, residents and parents. Everyone who experiences BRC is very proud to be a part of the center,” he said.
Looking toward the future, Hoover will continue to steward BRC’s brand as a premier residential treatment center. He’s also eager for people to know more about BRC’s growing community-based services, such as foster care, ABA and substance use counseling.