The ACTION Family Counseling Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers hosted an open-house and ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday afternoon at the nonprofit group's new corporate headquarters in the old Santa Clarita Water offices on Soledad Canyon Road in Saugus.
Local business leaders from the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, ACTION supporters, staff members and clients were on hand for the event, which celebrated the refurbished 6,000 square-foot facility and the organization's continued growth in the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse and support for families in crisis.
Leased from the Castaic Lake Water Agency, the building now houses 15 ACTION employees (human resources, medical billing, patient intake, CEO and CFO offices).
"I've been keeping my eye on that building for a long, long time and when it became vacant, we jumped on it," said Cary Quashen (pictured above), founder and executive director of the ACTION centers, and founder and president of the ACTION Parent & Teen Support Program. A high-risk teen counselor and a certified addiction specialist, Quashen also hosts the "Families in ACTION" radio show Monday afternoons on AM 1220 KHTS.
"It is such a neat place...it's comfortable, it's relaxing," he said. "We also do a lot of assessments and evaluations for patients or clients there, so when they come, it's a peaceful and a safe place for them to get what they need and not worry about who's watching."
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The adobe-styled exterior and bright interior make the new facility much less intimidating than most involved in treatment of chemical abuse and family problems.
"We try to do that with all our locations," Quashen said. "The ranch up Bouquet Canyon is on a 20-acre property that's very comfortable and doesn't feel like an institution. The adult house is on a four-acre ranch. We have another place in Santa Paula that's a farm. So all our locations — we really hand-pick them so that they're real comfortable settings, more like a homey kind of deal versus an institution."
ACTION Family Counseling has been serving the Santa Clarita Valley for the past 20 years via its nonprofit organization, the ACTION Parent Teen & Support Group Program, and ACTION Family Counseling, Inc. Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs since 2001.
Overall ACTION Family Counseling Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs began in 1997 with its original intensive outpatient facility in Simi Valley.
Today, the ACTION Centers have 14 locations and more than a dozen programs in Southern California that specialize in intensive outpatient and residential substance abuse and alcohol treatment programs for both teens and adults. ACTION also maintains supervised sober living facilities in Bakersfield and the SCV. There are now more than 100 employees working for ACTION Family Counseling across Los Angeles, Ventura and Kern counties.
Pictured at the ribbon-cutting are ACTION-ers (from left): Scott Huhn, Kirsten Quashen, David Ibarra, Cary Quashen, Mari Lane and Michelle Edmondson.
By centralizing its corporate operations and staff at the new Saugus location, Quashen hopes to continue to improve programs and services ACTION makes available to members of the community.
"We're always trying to improve and looking at ways that we can give better, give more treatment," Quashen said. "And expansion — it's one of those words I don't like to talk about, because every time I do, we end up growing. It's kind of one of those deals where ACTION has kind of taken on a life of its own. It just kind of finds the community that needs it, and before you know it, that's where we end up. And a lot of times the insurance companies will call us and say, 'You know what, we don't have treatment facilities in this city — can you please open up?' So there we go.
"We're also thinking very shortly of opening up some psychiatric residentials here in Santa Clarita so it won't just be for chemical dependence," he said. "That's projected for 2012, absolutely."
In addition to his work with ACTION, Quashen serves as the executive director of the Behavioral Health Unit at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia. He is a recognized consultant and leader in the behavioral health arena, and has appeared on several national television programs and consulted with a variety of health care programs across the country.
The ACTION Parent & Teen Support Program meets every Tuesday evening at Canyon High School in the A Building. The school is located on Nadal Street, just west of Whites Canyon in Canyon Country.
Find the new ACTION Family Counseling headquarters at 22722 Soledad Canyon Road, Saugus 91350.
For more information about ACTION and its programs, visit www.actionfamily.org . Quashen may be reached directly by calling (661) 713-3006.
Photos: Stephen K. Peeples, except group photo, courtesy ACTION.