Camarillo, CA – Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families recently received full re-accreditation for 10 years from the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation for their Psychology Internship Program. The ten-year term is the maximum length of time achievable for APA accreditation. Casa Pacifica first received APA accreditation for their internship program in 2006. An APA accredited internship focusing on residential treatment with foster youth is highly unique – with Casa Pacifica being one of only a handful of programs in the country to offer this specialized experience. Interns get to work with not only foster youth in residential treatment, but also with youth at Casa Pacifica’s fully-accredited Nonpublic School; Camino a Casa, a private pay short-term residential treatment program, which also offers partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient options; and Casa Pacifica’s Parent Child Interaction Therapy program which provides outpatient services for youth ages 2-8 years old. Each year, Casa Pacifica receives 120-180 applicants to the Program – only 5-8 are accepted each year.
Casa Pacifica’s Internship Program was created in 2003 Myra Saltoun, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Training for Early Career Psychologists and Postdoctoral Fellowship. “I started the program as we had a challenge recruiting clinicians who were highly trained to work with our population in residential care,” said Dr. Saltoun. “The Internship Program became a vehicle for us to train interns in this field and retain some as licensed staff in our programs. Many of Casa Pacifica’s Psychology Interns and Postdoctoral Fellows have stayed at Casa Pacifica or are working within the Tri-County region, increasing the workforce of highly trained psychologists in our region where there is currently a shortage.”
Robert Kretz, Psy.D., Internship Training Director and Assessment Supervisor for Casa Pacifica began overseeing and managing the internship program in 2012. “It is rewarding to be part of shaping psychology’s future through our training of interns. And it is extremely satisfying to watch the growth of our interns, they grow in leaps and bounds over the course of the training year. Seeing interns go from ‘I have no idea what to do’ to ‘let me tell you what needs to be done’ is my favorite part of the job,” says Dr. Kretz of the internship program.
In 2004, Casa Pacifica became a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers which granted them access to graduate psychology students from across the country. In 2006, when Casa Pacifica received APA Accreditation for their Internship Program, it gave them the ability to recruit students from all over the world. In 2018, Barack Obama’s “Now is the Time” initiative, aimed at reducing gun violence and increasing access to mental health services for young people provided funds to Casa Pacifica through a 3-year federal grant to train psychologists to work with high-risk youth. Aside from universities, Casa Pacifica was one of only two mental health agencies in the country to receive the grant. Over the grant’s three-year period, Casa Pacifica trained 26 new psychologists.
Dr. Saltoun said of their recent achievement, “Accreditation is important to us because it speaks to a sense of public trust, as well as to professional quality. Casa Pacifica has been a long-time member of this community – we value the community’s partnership and trust and strive to assure them – donors, volunteers, professionals, county partners, employees, and most importantly, the children and families we serve – we will continually do our part to maintain the highest quality programs and services possible.”
Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families is a crisis-care and residential treatment facility for foster or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The agency is the largest non-profit provider of children’s mental health services in both counties and administers a number of community-based programs designed to strengthen families and keep children in their homes and communities. Casa Pacifica is also a foster family agency, which recruits and trains families for potential placement with a foster youth. For more information about Casa Pacifica visit its website www.casapacifica.org or call the Development & Public Relations Department.