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Summitview Child and Family Services

07/27/2018 04:50PM

When Anna  Gleason celebrated the 22nd anniversary of her career at Summitview Child and Family Services, she was given a jar of 2,000 stones. The gift symbolized the approximate number of youth who had come through the doors of the mental health services agency in the two decades she had served in counseling and leadership roles. Gleason, who has been with the agency for nearly 24 years, is now the CEO of the Placerville-based nonprofit and says the stones were a fitting gesture because Summitview has been “a rock” for many children and families. 

“Since we started in 1993 with one small residential treatment facility, we’ve carefully developed our model of mental health services and care,” Gleason explains. “Our continued vision is to provide trauma-informed care to those in need despite race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other social demographic, in a nonjudgmental and safe place.”

Summitview’s residential division has expanded from a single facility to eight houses—one of which specializes in treating youth who have been victims of sex trafficking, and another that houses a residential program to serve mentally ill adults who are under public guardianship in El Dorado County. In addition to the homes, outpatient therapy and support services are offered, including alcohol and drug treatment, one-on-one behavioral support, independent living skills, and psychiatric services. 

The agency has even more moving parts. Its non-public school, Summitview Academy, is staffed with a team of educators and offers an individualized learning environment to youth in its residential program and from the community.  

Jennifer Cedeno-Ornelas and Anna Gleason

Gleason believes that in order to be in her profession, one must be truly affected by the adversity young people endure. “It’s always struck me that despite hearing the most traumatic of stories, I’ve never become numb to the experiences of the youth we serve,” she affirms.

 “It’s my belief that all children are deserving of permanency and being in a caring relationship.” 

As part of their treatment program, and as a way to give back to the community, kids often spend time volunteering at local convalescent hospitals, Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode, and Snowline Hospice’s thrift store. 

They also recently opened a specialized program to serve victims of sex trafficking. As CEO, Gleason has taken an active role in this cause through policy development efforts at the state level. “Our home for victims of sex trafficking has been recognized statewide due to our success in working with this specific population.” says Gleason. “We operate from a harm reduction model and hold relationship building as a key component to the success of these youths and their ability to complete their treatment programs with us.” 

In addition, Summitview has announced it will be opening a new home, Stepping Stones, which will offer intensive and refined direct services to youth and their families in times of crisis. This specialized care will provide families support, safety planning, and continued services to avoid longer term residential care or hospitalization.

Summitview is nationally accredited through the Council on Accreditation (COA) and all residential programs are licensed through the State of California Department of Social Services. “While we’re already nationally accredited, we have started the process to develop and expand our accreditation,” Gleason says, “meaning that all of our policies, procedures, and practices are looked at on a national level...we’re a very open, honest, and transparent agency.”

by Janet Scherr  //  photos by Dante fontana

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