If you are a professional and would like to make a referral to Austin Child Guidance Center, please be aware of the following information.
Austin Child Guidance Center serves children who are 17 years of age or younger and are experiencing an emotional or behavioral problem. In addition we see the parents or caregivers of those children in family therapy and/or parenting classes. In order to qualify to have fees reduced (sliding scale) on the basis of income and the number of people in the home, the family needs to live in Travis County or have one of the parents working in Travis County. Other services may be available at no charge. See the section on services below.
The person with legal rights to bring the child to therapy (usually the parent) should call us directly to begin the process of entering the child into treatment. In some rare situations, a referring professional can call to talk with one of our intake staff and give us the appropriate information and then our intake staff will call the legal guardian of the child being referred.
As an outpatient mental health facility we are able to offer a range of mental health services including psychiatric evaluations, psychological assessments, individual and family therapy, and parenting classes. However, we are not an emergency facility and therefore do not offer that type of immediate counseling or psychiatric care. Families who have children with long term psychiatric needs such as those suffering from childhood schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, eating disorders, or have a primary substance abuse diagnosis can best be served by facilities who have access to emergency and psychiatric care around the clock. These cases should be referred to Austin Travis County Mental Health Mental Retardation at 512-447-4141.
In most cases children and families are referred to us to begin individual and family therapy. We do an initial evaluation utilizing a brief solution focused approach. Our experience indicates that about one third of our families will be here for four sessions or less, but many families also will continue in treatment and there is not a specific limitation on the time a family can be in treatment. We also utilize many treatment models in our work with families including cognitive behavioral, family systems, and solution-focuses approaches.
Although we offer psychiatric evaluations, this service is only available to those children who are already in individual or family counseling at Austin Child Guidance Center. Our psychiatrist is available only 10 hours a week and thus we must reserve that time for children already in service who may require that service and who may be able to benefit from medication. However, if a child receives medication through our agency they may only receive it so long as the child and family continue in therapy. Following the therapy and if the child still requires medication we will direct the child or family to their primary care physician.
We also offer psychological assessments for children. Our priority is for those children who are already a client at Austin Child Guidance Center. However, if you are a professional and making a specific referral for a psychological assessment to be completed, we ask that you first call us and talk with an intake worker to see whether we would have the current capacity to perform these. We do not perform psychological evaluations related to custody disputes or court ordered assessments for the general public.
Our parenting class, which begin in September and January, is open to any parents and thus they do not need to have a child in service. The class is set up for parents of children with ADHD 12 years and younger; the cost of the class is $15 per sessions (per individual or couple) or $120 for the entire series of 8 sessions.
The cost of services to a child and his or her family varies, however we work with families to make our services affordable. The normal cost for individual or family therapy for a 50 minute session is $100.00. However, our sliding fee scale is available to those families who qualify based on family size and income. The sliding fee scale slides down to as low as $9 an hour. In some cases, even this fee can be waived. We also have some programs that are available at no charge, for example children who have witnessed or experience violence or have been affected by the recent hurricanes.
Our agency is open five days a week and its hours of operation for appointments are from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday.
Unfortunately our agency sometimes has a waiting list for those children and families needing our services. However, any family who calls or is a walk in at our location at 45th and Lamar will have the opportunity to talk with an intake worker who will then begin the process of gathering the initial information that would be required prior to seeing a therapist. If an appointment is not immediately available, the client will then be placed on a waiting list. As soon as an appointment is available the client will be called. Depending on the time of the year, particularly in December and January and April and May, the wait can be anywhere from a month to three months especially if the client has a special need as for a Spanish speaking therapist or a male therapist. The more flexible a client is in terms of the therapist assigned, for example if a client is willing to be seen by a graduate student who is supervised by one of our staff, the more quickly we may be able to see your client.
For More Information
If you have any additional questions about making a referral, you may contact Alice Monroe at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-451-2242.