The Twin Cedars history is characterized by a strong tradition of caring for and providing services for children dating back over 160 years.
Community leaders in LaGrange, Georgia, under the leadership of Mrs. Arthur “Click” Bradfield, concerned for the safety and welfare of local children and families in crisis, formed the West Georgia Youth Council.
The Bradfield Center Campus in LaGrange, located at 1022 East Depot Street, was created to meet the needs of troubled youth and was licensed to serve up to 40 boys from throughout the State of Georgia. A plan was launched to serve youth ages 9 to 17 who suffered from sexual abuse, trauma, severe emotional disturbances, and those exhibiting sexually aggressive behaviors.
The West Georgia Youth Council relocated to the former Eastside Primary/Boys Junior High School property at 1022 East Depot Street. Located on 15 acres, this facility provided services for boys at Hudson Boys Group Home, services for girls at the Bradfield Girls Group Home, and offered after school and evening treatment services through the Youth Guidance Center.
The Anne Elizabeth Shepherd Home in Columbus merged with the West Georgia Youth Council in LaGrange on May 18, 1993. The name was officially changed to Twin Cedars Youth Services, Inc. on October 19, 1993.
Currently, The Anne Elizabeth Shepherd Home serves up to 58 girls ranging in age from 7 to 17. Three cottages on the campus are utilized for residential services and support a fully accredited year-round school, Ault Academy. Two group homes, Owens Cottage and Reality House, are also part of the Anne Elizabeth Shepherd Home Campus.
First envisioned in 1926 by Miss Viola Burks, Camp Viola was founded in 1928 on 180 acres as a fresh-air camp for children. Incorporated on June 18, 1928, the camp now serves over 600 children each year. Camp Viola has been managed by TCYFS since 1997, with oversight provided by the Camp Viola Board of Trustees.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Troup County was established in 2002 in response to a community need for a coordinated systems approach to serving victims of child abuse within the Coweta Judicial Circuit. With support of the District Attorney’s Office, the CAC opened its doors in early 2003.
Through a unique partnership with Habitat for Humanity and The Jimmy Carter Work Project, the Magnolias Campus was constructed. Programs now at this campus include: the Georgia Farm Bureau Second Chance Home, the Annette Boyd Group home, the Alcohol Prevention Initiative, the Circle of Care program, the Troup County Prevention Coalition, and the Human Resources Offices.
George R. Moore Specialized Foster Care program began in June of 2004. Over the past ten years, the program has grown to 30 homes with approximately 27 children in care. The program now provides services in Columbus, LaGrange, and Macon.
2004 also saw the establishment of the Annette Boyd Group Home at the Magnolia Campus in LaGrange, Georgia. The home caters to girls ages 13-17.
Twin Cedars Youth Services, Inc. was named the Agency of the Year by the Georgia Association of Homes and Services for Children.
In May 2006, the new Connections facility was completed and dedicated in honor of Mr. Lewis L. Banks, a charter member of the West Georgia Youth Council.
The Bradfield Campus houses the main administrative center, two residential cottages, a gym housing a challenge ropes course, a recreation field, a cafeteria, and a fully accredited school, Ault Academy. Connections Group Home is also part of the Bradfield Center Campus. The Bradfield Campus and Connections serves up to 50 boys ranging in ages from 9 to 17.
In June of 2007, Circle of Care celebrated “A Decade of Service to Teen Mothers.” The program was established in 1997 by the Troup Family Connection Authority in collaboration with Troup County DFCS and District Four Health Services to address the issue of rising repeat pregnancy rates in the LaGrange Community. Overall, 700 teen mothers, babies, and fathers have been assisted by Circle of Care services.
In response to a statewide change in service delivery in 2007, the Community Counseling program was established in LaGrange and Columbus in order to meet treatment needs of youth in residential care, as well as the community at large.
In LaGrange, the Callaway Foundation granted TCYFS the use of the Coleman Center for a long-term lease of $1 per year. In addition, the Foundation assumed the cost of renovations which was estimated at $1,450,000 for the 12,000 square foot facility. Completed in July of 2008, the newly renovated facility now houses the Twin Cedars Community Counselingprogram, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Troup County, Darkness to Light, admissions office, training offices, and administrative offices.
Chattahoochee CASA was established in November of 2008 to recruit, screen, train, and retain volunteers to serve abused, neglected, or abandoned children involved in juvenile court deprivation hearings in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit.
Troup County Prevention Coalition was created in 2008 and funded through CADCA and SAMSHA by the Drug-Free Communities grant. TCPC is one of only three agencies in Georgia to receive that grant in 2013. The TCYFS program works closely with the Troup County Family Connection program to reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, among adults by addressing the factors that increase the risk of substance abuse.
The Georgia Association of Homes and Services for Children (GAHSC) honored Mike Angstadt, previous Executive Director of TCYFS with the 2009 Leadership Award.
Truancy Intervention program (TIP) was first established in 2002 by the Columbus Bar Association, Inc. and the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar Association of Georgia. The program was re-organized in 2011 under the umbrella of TCYFS as a partnership with TCYFS, Muscogee County School District, Columbus Bar Association, and Muscogee County Juvenile Court System, to provide mentors to elementary students who have been identified to have excessive school absences.
In May, the doors of the new Dorothy Wells Knight Community Counseling Center opened. Located at 1025 First Avenue, the facility houses Twin Cedars’ Columbus area mental health services. Major funding for the project was secured from the Dorothy Wells Knight UniTrust in 2010. The centrally located facility in Uptown Columbus will serve children and adolescents through individual or group therapy to overcome an array of problems.
Joining the TCYFS team in 2013 was the Lee County CASA program. Lee County CASA opened its doors in January of 2011 and began taking cases in September of 2011.
The Child Advocacy Center of East Alabama joined the Twin Cedars Youth & Family Services team. Established in 1991 with services offered in 1993, the CAC was created to provide a safe environment for the children in the Lee County Judicial System.
Darkness to Light was adopted and introduced to Troup County by TCYFS and Troup County Family Connection Authority in October of 2013. The program was made possible by a grant from the Callaway Foundation.
The Alcohol Prevention Initiative, a social marketing campaign to decrease underage drinking, was launched. As a partnership with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the program will ask the community to “Be the Wall” between teens and alcohol.
Children’s Tree House, the Columbus-based Child Advocacy Center was established to meet the needs of abused and neglected children in the six counties that make up the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. CTH has a history dating back 25 years of serving victims of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit.
Reality House, a residential youth development program for girls 14-21
Teambuilding started in Columbus in the late 1980’s and was spearheaded by previous Executive Director Mike Angstadt. As the program grew, Teambuilding expanded to included LaGrange and Macon courses.
Twin Cedars Youth Services changed its name to Twin Cedars Youth & Family Services, Inc. to better depict its true mission of serving youth and families.