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 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.
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.
Initial contact with Austin Child Guidance Center is typically done by telephone, and we can be reached at (512) 451-2242. When a caller requests services, an intake worker will determine the child or family’s eligibility for services and method of payment e.g. insurance or sliding fee scale (based on family size and income) so that treatment remains affordable. Following this initial phone call and intake process, we will offer the family an appointment time. If the family can’t make the appointment time (s) offered, we will ask the family to call back at a later date or offer referrals to other providers. Both the parent and the child need to attend the first therapy session.
Beginning in February 2010, the Center started offering a sliding fee scale walk in clinic (Fridays from 2-4 pm) in which no prior appointment time is required.
When the parent and child come to Austin Child Guidance Center for their first appointment, they will complete an assessment of the child’s functioning. They will meet with their therapist and agree on an initial set of goals and objectives on which the child and family would like to work.
Our primary mode of treatment is a brief treatment approach, meaning we aim to have the most effective impact on and for our clients in a relatively short period of time. However, we are also able to serve families that need or desire lengthy treatment or in-depth assessments.
After initial information is gathered and the nature of the child’s presenting challenges is determined, treatment will begin. This usually takes the form of meeting with the child individually as well as having meetings with the entire family. Services are offered on sliding fee scale, based on income and family size. No one is denied services because of inability to pay.