OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Bay Area Community Services, the non-profit that runs Oakland rehabilitation facility Thunder Road, released the following statements in response to questions regarding a KPIX 5 original report on the treatment center.

The main statement reads as follows:

“Adolescent Treatment Centers, Inc. (doing business as Thunder Road) has been part of the community behavioral health landscape since 1987 and has provided residential and outpatient behavioral health services to more than 7,000 young people and their families in the last 32 years.

Thunder Road respects a patient’s right to confidentiality at all times and is not able to address individual or specific cases due to patient confidentiality. Furthermore, we cannot comment on allegations made by former staff, including staff who were terminated for cause. We also cannot provide names of the thousands of clients and families who have benefited from the care and unconditional support of Thunder Road and its dedicated staff both in the past and recently. There are many, many stories of success that we wish we could share.

Thunder Road is a voluntary, unlocked program, and operates as a “restraints free” environment, meaning that young people cannot be restrained or physically prevented from leaving the facility. Clients and their guardians are informed at intake of the voluntary, unlocked, “no restraint” policy at Thunder Road. This is a critical component of informed consent so that clients and their guardians can decide whether they can tolerate the risks of a youth leaving the program in an unauthorized manner.

Thunder Road is staffed by trained and credentialed personnel, many who have been with the organization for over 10 years. Thunder road has on-site supervision for clients 24/7, with an appropriate staff-to-client ratio at all times, with clinical staff available every day. Services are individualized based on need, and clients are engaged in creating unique therapeutic plans including group activities, counseling, access to secondary education, support services, and more. If clients have family members involved, they are encouraged to meet with clinical staff as part of the program and family therapy is provided. Thunder Road provides a structured program and daily schedule that is based upon a milieu-management model, which uses structured group settings to encourage engagement with personally-identified goals, building trust through appropriate behavior and open communications, and treating oneself and others with respect. There is not a “free-for-all” environment, and clients are not “allowed to do whatever they want.” If clients leave the program unauthorized, there is a standard protocol of calling the police, guardian, and licensing entities. This is followed at all times. If there is an emergency, staff calls 911 to ensure clients receive access to appropriate medical or behavioral health care.

Since 2017, Thunder Road’s discharge outcomes demonstrate that 63% of young people met at least partial treatment goals. Over the last 10 years, the community demand for this type of residential care has declined, due to positive, major reforms in California, where out-of-home placement is chosen as a last resort, and only indicated for the most challenging/high-needs youth. Thus, there is a movement across California to increase community-based services and reduce out-of-home placements. As an example, San Francisco has voted to close their juvenile hall, and Alameda County has shown a major decline in its juvenile hall and out-of-home placements. As a result, court-ordered referrals to residential programs such as Thunder Road have dwindled. The effort to reduce residential placements has shown significant success in the community, and the number of young people who are willing to engage with this level of treatment has dropped to near-zero. As of today, Thunder Road continues to accept referrals, but does not have any current clients.

Thunder Road is licensed as a group home, but all group homes must transition to a different type of license because of the aforementioned continuum of care reform underway. We are in process of applying for a different license type. Thunder Road intends to continue to work with local partners to ensure that we provide services that meet community need.”

The company released this additional statement:

“Thunder Road stands firmly behind the extraordinary work we have done for thousands of youth and families that have walked through our doors over the past 32 years. The entire thunder road staff cares so much for the youth and families who struggle with active substance use and mental health challenges that we serve, providing at all times, therapeutic care and support to the most challenging youth struggling with addiction. Additionally, we have upheld all regulatory requirements related to care and supervision, therapeutic milieu, family support, etc. When there have been emergencies, such as kids relapsing or leaving the program without authorization (Thunder Road is a voluntary, unlocked, restraint-free environment), we have always followed the laws and regulations.”

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