Photo Credit: John Bergman
The Turning Point Agency began out of a deep concern for the many young people who thought they had found the answer to life's problems through taking drugs. Members of the community of Visalia, California, under the sponsorship of the Inter-Church Council and the City of Visalia, joined together to combat drug abuse by forming Turning Point as a tax exempt corporation in August 1970. Shortly thereafter, the Agency's first employee was hired to be an outreach worker and counselor. The community contributed funds, labor, materials, furnishings, etc., and soon a counseling center for youth became a reality.
On June 1, 1971 the doors of the first Turning Point residential program opened. The program had accommodations for ten young men. The residential program served young people from all parts of Tulare County and in December of 1974, a seven-bed residential program for women was opened. Drug diversion classes for first-time drug offenders were also added, and the name of the Agency was changed to Turning Point of Central California, Inc. reflecting the larger service area. Again, expansion of services became the theme when in May 1976, Turning Point opened a facility in Fresno, California to serve as a half-way house and rehabilitation center for ex-offenders.
In March of 1977, a similar facility was opened in Bakersfield, California. In April 1977 Turning Point started an outpatient drug-free counseling service to serve Tulare County residents. Two years later, the Agency started Turning Point Youth Services as a counseling and drug prevention program for the students of Tulare County schools. October 1981 brought the birth of Turning Point's Rural Employment Assistance and Placement Program, which provides remedial education and job placement to the economically disadvantaged. In early 1982 the Agency expanded its residential services to include two more facilities in Fresno, and the program in Visalia was renamed the Visalia Reentry Center.
In 1985 the Agency began providing school-based mental health services, and in 1986 the Agency began providing clinic-based mental health services for children and their parents in Tulare County. Child abuse prevention services to families were also implemented, and mental health services were established in Fresno County including case management services for the homeless mentally ill and residential care for seriously emotionally disturbed youth. In the 90’s the Agency continued to experience considerable growth with the addition of:
(a) crisis homes for developmentally disabled youth,
(b) expanded children’s mental health services,
(c) expanded residential drug treatment and dual diagnosis treatment services,
(d) housing for homeless families and the mentally ill,
(e) mental health assessment services,
(f) transitional living facilities,
(g) forensic mental health services,
(h) in-prison substance abuse treatment,
(i) domestic violence intervention and treatment, and expanded operations through consolidation with two other non-profit organizations, which further extends our menu of services for people in need.
As we look ahead at the difficulties facing people in the communities we serve, we believe we can help solve some of the problems. We’ve established leadership in our areas of service and have the organizational structure in place to run a multifaceted social service agency successfully. As we continue to develop new services for people in need, we are dedicated to benefiting the communities we serve and to reducing social problems through providing each client the opportunity to establish a healthy and productive life.