The Psychology Division was created in 1998 to provide psychological services for youth who are in the care and supervision of the Fort Bend County Juvenile Probation Department. The Psychology Division provides mental health services for youth in the detention center, specialized counseling and treatment services for youth referred to the department, and forensic evaluation services for youth and families who are involved with the Juvenile Justice System. Forensic evaluations assist Probation Officers and Judges in developing effective treatment plans by identifying intervention areas which may be most useful for youth and their families. The forensic evaluation services within the department offsets the cost of vendor services as well as decreases the length of time a youth may spend in the detention center.
The division employs one doctoral level psychologist, eight masters degree level licensed professional counselors (LPC), two administrative support staff, and counselors-in-training who are earning their professional counselor license. The division also serves as a training site for counseling/psychology graduate students who are completing college requirements from local universities. Houston Baptist University, University of Houston-Victoria, University of Houston-Clear Lake often place students in field internships within the Psychology Division. The counselors-in-training and graduate students all work under the supervision, guidance and direction of licensed professional staff. The psychology staff may provide individual, family, and group counseling services for: (1) youth referred to the department, (2) youth placed in the detention center, (3) youth formally placed on Probation, (4) youth placed at the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP), or (5) youth at a local school if deemed necessary. Psychological services focus on rehabilitating youth which in turn protects members of the community. The Director of Psychology Services is Philip A. Kerne IV, Ph.D.
The Referral Process
Referrals to the Psychology Division are often mandated by court orders from Juvenile Court Judges and Juvenile Probation Officers (JPO). A referral from the juvenile justice legal system (Judge/JPO) often becomes a condition of probation or criteria for detention release. Youth and parents/guardians are expected to attend and participate in the required counseling sessions until successful completion. Counseling services provided by the Psychology staff are generally intended as brief, solution-focused counseling interventions rather than long-term comprehensive treatment. Concerns from family members and youth self-referrals also warrant services from the psychology staff. Counseling services are generally conducted after school, and psychology services are provided at no additional cost to clients. The psychology and counseling services are funded by your tax dollars.
Youth and families are referred to the Psychology Division for a number of reasons. Examples of problem behaviors youth demonstrate include substance abuse, aggressive behavior, emotion management problems, low self esteem, poor peer choices, theft, and crimes against members of the community. Interventions often address grief and loss, depression, isolation, anxiety, defiance of authority, antisocial values and beliefs, parenting concerns, and family conflict. Initially, a counselor will interview a youth and his/her parent(s)/guardian(s) to learn more about the family system and each member’s view of the problem. The counselor gathers information about the family and the youth’s behavior. Substance abuse counseling services may be implemented if a youth demonstrates a positive urinalysis for the presence of some controlled substance, admission of substance abuse, or legal consequences related to substance abuse. Specific aggression intervention counseling may be implemented if a youth has demonstrated poor coping skills when managing his/her emotions. Documented or reported incidents of assaults or aggressive behavior at home, at school, or in the community will generally prompt a referral to the Psychology Division. Specific mental health counseling services may be implemented if a youth reports suicidal ideas or impulses, or if a youth demonstrates significant behavior problems in association with a serious mental health problem, serious psychiatric illness, or difficult phase of life transition. The psychology staff provides crisis intervention and crisis management services for those youth who may present in significant emotional distress. The Psychology Division also provides specialized Sexual Behavior Treatment for youth who have been adjudicated to the Probation Department after committing a sexual offense.
The Psychology Division works with a Psychiatrist (Medical Doctor) to provide youth with psychiatric consultation and medication interventions when needed. The Psychology Division will also provide a referral to publicly funded resources, the family's employee assistance program, and a health insurance provider if needed in order for a youth to receive intervention services. Fostering optimal personal development, stabilizing mental health needs, successful probation completion, and promoting prosocial behaviors are intervention goals for the division.
Dr. Philip A. Kerne IV, Ph.D., Division Director
122 Golfview Drive
Richmond, TX 77469