Journey High School
Journey High School
Orchard House
Orchard House
Phoenix House
Phoenix House

The TLC Story - 30+ Years of Caring for Children and Youth

TLC Child & Family Services has a rich history of caring for children and families. However, our story is not just a story of past history. TLC continues to adapt and change to meet the present day needs of troubled children and youth. Furthermore,TLC continues to prepare to meet the needs of future generations.

TLC Child & Family Services began operations in South Lake Tahoe in 1975 under the name of High Sierra Group Home. It’s founder, Jim Galsterer, worked with children who were discharged from institutions. Treatment extensively used was recreational therapy intervention in an ‘Outward Bound’ type program.

High Sierra Group Home was incorporated as a non-profit organization under the title of High Passages, Inc.

High Passages moved its headquarters to Sebastopol, CA. There were four boys and two girls in placement. High Passages, Inc. was welcomed by Sonoma County agencies, the local schools and its neighbors.

High Passages, Inc. was re-incorporated as True to Life Counseling (TLC) on June 21. TLC opened a second residential home, Phoenix House, for six boys. Group homes provided settings for severely emotionally disturbed adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 years. Each home utilized experienced well-educated and professional house-parents, relief counselors, and asleep night staff resulting in a 3:1 working staff to child ratio.

The Hidden Lake Home was opened in December.

The Coast House in was opened in September.

TLC was licensed to operate a Foster Family Agency (FFA) program. This program provides foster homes for children whose needs are best met in smaller and less restrictive environments than those found in our group homes.

The Mariposa Home opened in September.

TLC opened its first special education school, Journey High School. Many of the group home children’s special needs were not being adequately met in the public school system. Journey High School serves up to 48 students, ages 12 - 18. A comprehensive curriculum is tailored to each student. Special education services include assistance with learning disabilities, remedial needs, academic counseling, tutorial assistance, and mental health services.

TLC opened Sonoma County’s first short- term assessment program. START Home offered a highly structured environment with a ninety-day assessment and treatment program for 10 adolescent children. Start School offers special education services and is located on the same grounds. In 1993 a Day Treatment component was added to the program.

Discovery Home was opened in Mendocino County. This six-bed home group home was operated by houseparents, utilized community schools, and offered a variety of recreational and vocational programming.

Through the years, the residential programs modified staffing patterns to accommodate the changing populations of youth entering TLC’s care. By 1993 only two house parent programs (Hidden Lake and Discovery) were in operation. All other programs used higher staffing patterns, including awake night staff.

The Foster Family Agency (FFA) program expanded with the merger of Mendocino Youth Project’s Foster Family program and TLC. This added six children and 10 foster families to our FFA program. As a result TLC opened a regional office in Mendocino County in Ukiah. In addition, TLC began offering services in Napa, Marin, Solano, and Lake Counties.

True to Life Counseling changed its name to True to Life Children’s Services. This name was chosen by staff members as a way to better describe our work with children.

TLC was licensed as an Adoption Agency. This long process finally enabled the agency to provide a full spectrum of services to children.

TLC began the Children’s Emergency Shelter in Mendocino County for children who were removed from their homes because of abuse and/or neglect. This program utilizes specially trained foster homes that are able to take children into their homes at any time of day and on any day.

TLC began serving 16 - 19 year old foster children who were planning to leave the foster care system and live independently. The Transitional Housing Placement Program (THPP) finds private homes with a room to rent or apartments. Each youth receives funding for rent, food, utilities, clothing, entertainment, and savings.

TLC modified its name to TLC Child & Family Services to reflect our commitment to the entire family system. TLC also began working with young adults (ages 18 - 24 years) who were formally in the foster care system. The Transitional Housing Program Plus (THP-Plus) provides housing and employment skills to former foster children who are homeless, parenting, or leaving higher level of care facilities.

Fostering Connections is a unique community program offered by TLC that started in January 2008. Through this program, any foster child or youth who is or has been in foster care has access to mental health and behavioral services by trained clinicians at no cost to themselves or their families.

Journey High School
Orchard House
Phoenix House