Adolescent Portable Therapy


Established in 2001, Vera's Adolescent Portable Therapy (APT) project provides substance use and mental health treatment for adolescents involved in, or at risk of becoming involved in, the juvenile justice system. The program's family counseling model of service helps families build on their inherent strengths to support their adolescents in making positive changes in their lives. APT also helps other programs to improve their practice through training and technical assistance.

APT is portable, meaning that clients receive counseling sessions in their homes and communities. Our commitment to bringing quality treatment directly to our clients allows us to serve families who do not have access to more traditional clinical services.

Specific APT initiatives include:

  • Working with System-Involved Youth in New York City: APT views the juvenile justice system as a continuum and provides treatment for youth at various points along this continuum. Status offenders—youth who show signs of problem behavior but have not committed a crime—and youth who are considered at high risk of violating the terms of their juvenile probation supervision receive APT services that aim to reduce the likelihood that they will enter further into the system. Project staff also provide reentry planning and transition services for youth returning home from secure residential facilities.
  • Providing Technical Assistance: APT’s treatment model is often adopted in part or as a whole by other jurisdictions that want to improve their treatment practices. APT conducts workshops and provides longer-term technical assistance to these jurisdictions. APT also consults with jurisdictions on implementation strategies for evidence-based treatment practices, not limited to APT, and on improving partnerships with juvenile justice agencies.

Why APT is Needed
National studies suggest that a high percentage of youth enter the juvenile justice system with significant unmet mental health and substance use treatment needs. As youth move more deeply into the system, these problems become more prevalent. Because the system is not equipped to address mental health and substance abuse issues, youth rarely get the treatment they need even after they return home. APT has successfully partnered with various government agencies to provide young people and families with innovative and cost-effective substance use and mental health treatment.

For more information, contact project director Krista Larson

Adolescent Portable Therapy: A Practical Guide for Service Providers
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Emily Saunders
Therapist, Adolescent Portable Therapy