What We Do

Third Way Center provides around-the-clock treatment and care for young adults ages 14-21

Our Programs

We successfully break the cycle of intergenerational abuse by empowering traumatized teens to become successful adults and productive members of the community.

Five residential houses in Denver

Two alternative high schools for residents

Four specialized treatment programs

Building Life Skills

Due to unstable family situations or spending time in highly institutionalized environments, many youth entering Third Way Center do not yet have the skills necessary to live on their own.

Typically, teens in Third Way Center programs are referred by the Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services, various mental health centers or, in some cases, private placement.

To assist in determining whether a client is a good fit, we will generally require information on the client including:

  • Reason for referral
  • Current situation
  • Court reports
  • Results of any previous psychological testing
  • Discharge summaries from previous placements
  • Education information

This information will be reviewed and if the client is appropriate for the program, an admissions assessment will be scheduled with one of our intake professionals. Following the admissions assessment, a decision will be made regarding whether the youth will be accepted into our programs.

At Third Way Center, teens receive around-the-clock mental health treatment in one of our five licensed Residential Child Care Facilities (RCCFs) where they are given the stability and attention they need from our experienced staff.

We have 120 full-time staff and 40 part-time staff including state-licensed Master Level Therapists, Mental Health Counselors, and more than 25 educational staff. Combined, our five licensed RCCFs are capable of serving up to 101 teens and 12 babies at one time. The average length of stay for teens at Third Way Center is approximately 7.5 months.

Our programs have a 71% success rate in treating teenagers who have been unsuccessful in up to 30 other foster homes, treatment programs, failed adoptions and youth correction settings.

Third Way Center has two state-approved, alternative high schools for youth. Led by Master’s Level Special Education teachers, students receive individualized attention in our small classrooms.

Joan Farley Academy at KW Brill Center

JFA serves up to 60 youth from Third Way Center’s York, Pontiac, and Bannock Houses, Lincoln Street Supervised Apartments, and the Next Steps program.

Joan Farley Academy at Lowry
JFA Lowry serves up to 32 students living on the Lowry Campus.

Specialized Programs

Third Way Center’s Specialized Programs are additional ways that we provide support and opportunity for youth throughout our organization.

Some youth struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. We have a Substance Use Treatment Coordinator working with these young adults on an ongoing basis.

The Voc-Ed team performs job skill assessments and teaches resume writing and interview skill development for youth. This program helps them retain employment or seek volunteer opportunities to help build new skills.

With the help of therapists and mental health counselors, youth learn to prepare grocery lists, properly store food, cook, clean, do laundry and perform all tasks necessary to live independently.

The Teen Mother’s Program is the only one of its kind in Colorado. These young mothers are typically 15 to 19 years old, with limited or zero financial resources, and have severe mental health and/or behavioral issues that have led to homelessness, learning disabilities, chronic truancy, drug abuse, crime, delinquency, suicide attempts, and other dysfunctional behaviors. 

These mothers reside at Bannock House, an all-girls facility serving up to 13 female youth and 9 babies at one time. Bannock House provides a stable environment for these young women to live with their babies (age 2 and under) and receive mental health treatment including family therapy, individual therapy, and group therapy.

All young women at Bannock House must be enrolled in the Joan Farley Academy to obtain their high school diploma or GED and must maintain a full-time schedule of either school, work or a combination of the two. Third Way Center provides access to child care plus a full-time, Master’s Level Director of Child Development to teach the teen mothers about child development milestones and parenting skills.

Each teenager living at the teen mother’s program receives several types of therapy, from a Master’s Level Therapist: Family Therapy for 1-2 hours/week; Individual Therapy 2-4 hours/week; Group Therapy 4-10 hours/week. The Teen mothers also participate in the Independent Living Skills group to learn about different independent living skills, putting them into practice by meal planning, shopping in the community for groceries and cleaning supplies, cooking, and cleaning.

Facilities providing mental health treatment for teen mothers and their babies are non-existent except for at Third Way Center’s Bannock House. Other mental health organizations and residential treatment centers do not have the capability of housing the mothers together with their babies. Keeping the mothers with their babies whenever possible is a huge factor in the success of the treatment plan. The overall goal of this program is to provide these young women with the mental health treatment and the appropriate training to become self- supporting, independent citizens enabling them to raise their children properly and break the cycle of intergenerational abuse that these young mothers have experienced in their own lives.

Next Steps is a community-based program for up to 15 young adults who have emancipated from our Residential Child Care Facilities, but still need supervision and assistance. 

Youth in Next Steps have either moved into their own apartments or moved in with relatives. We help them find stable housing, furnish new apartments, and find jobs. We also provide the support needed to help establish healthy routines.