Avanti Center for Girls

Location: 10300 Flanders Street NE
Blaine, Minnesota 55449

Fax: 888-972-8981              

Office hours:
Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Residential setting provides services 24-hours per day, 7-days per week, 365 days per year.

Females, ages 13 to 18, experiencing mental health crisis, in need of residential treatment, short-term evaluation or shelter.

Fees: Funding for participant placement is typically received through private health insurance and/or county social services. 

Referrals and Information:  Contact Pam Solberg -psolberg@voamn.org   

Avanti Center for Girls offers a continuum of shelter, evaluation and residential treatment services. Avanti uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to treat adolescent girls, ages 13-18, experiencing mental health crisis. Diagnoses include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and emerging personality disorders which often present as self-injurious behavior and frequent hospitalizations for suicidal ideation and attempts. Family involvement is incorporated into all stages of treatment. If you are interested in placing your child or client at Avanti, please complete the referral form, include the requested clinical information as described in the referral packet and send to Pam Solberg. All referrals are screened by Avanti’s Program Director for appropriate fit.

Treatment Program
Avanti’s treatment program is 6-9 months long, consisting of four stages, focusing on safety and behavior stabilization, skills acquisition and successful re-integration back into the child’s home and school environment. Avanti’s programming is a modification of DBT, applied throughout the treatment program. The model for our program is based on research done by Marsha Linehan, Jill Rathus and Alec Miller as described in the manual, Dialectical Behavior Therapy with Suicidal Adolescents. The manual is based on treatment in an outpatient setting which we have adapted for our residential program. The model is based on four components: weekly individual therapy, weekly multi-family skills group (attended by the adolescent and their parents), DBT phone coaching and DBT consultation to the therapist. We have adapted the model the following ways:
  • Each resident receives individual DBT with a trained therapist at least weekly (some clients will receive twice weekly therapy based on clinical need).  
  • Residents attend a DBT skills group three times per week, facilitated by clinical staff.
  • All residents participate in DBT focused family therapy at least twice per month.
  • When residents achieve stage three (sometimes earlier if clinically indicated), they start participation in our family DBT skills group during which the residents teach their parents the DBT skills.
  • Generalization of the DBT skills usage to the home environment through in-vivo skills practice, coaching and training in the milieu environment.
  • Training of all residential counselors in DBT skills through orientation training, monthly trainings, weekly skills training and consultation during team meetings.
  • Weekly DBT consultation group (1.5 hours per week) for clinical staff, adhering to the DBT model for consultation.
In addition, we offer the following supplemental services:
  • Psychiatric assessment and ongoing medication management.
  • Psychological testing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • On-site Registered Nurse
  • Intensive Parenting and Caregiver Support
Avanti’s on-site school, called Willows, is overseen by Northeast Metro Intermediate School District 916, which manages classrooms in a variety of treatment settings. Education services at Willows are highly individualized and coordinated with the resident’s home district, allowing as little disruption in school progress as possible. As residents progress in treatment, we do offer off-site alternatives to assist with re-integration into a mainstream school setting. Decisions regarding school setting are made in collaboration with the resident and their parents, Willow’s staff and Avanti’s treatment team. 

Community Integration 
Avanti offers a multitude of services to facilitate successful re-integration into their home and school environment. Our Work Readiness Program, available to residents who achieve stage three in treatment, builds employment skills, including resume and interview practice, allows the resident to earn an hourly wage, develop professional skills and have a leadership role. We also offer mentors, connecting residents who express interest with adult volunteers, allowing us to provide culturally specific, positive role models. Avanti residents also participate in volunteer activities in the local community. 

Aftercare Services
When a resident reaches stage four of treatment, re-integration efforts are increased. At this point residents generally go home every weekend to assess their ability to generalize treatment progress at home. The family and treatment team work closely to create an aftercare plan, arranging psychiatric and mental health services closer to home. Whenever possible, the individual therapist will attend at least one therapy session with the resident and their new outpatient therapist post discharge. Collaboration between therapists is encouraged thereafter. Residents are also offered on-going skills coaching via phone calls to residential counselors. 

Shelter Program
Avanti offers shelter for adolescent girls in need for 1-90 days. Shelter is paid through county social services. Applicants are screened carefully by Avanti’s referral staff. Shelter residents are integrated into our treatment milieu, so participants have access to most programming, with the exception of individual and family therapy. 

Evaluation Program
Avanti also offers a 42-day evaluation program. The evaluation consists of psychological and psychiatric testing, behavior analysis and recommendations. The evaluation cost is often covered by private insurance and/or county social services. Referrals include girls who require additional intervention for successful living, but the type of intervention is uncertain and outpatient evaluation is not sufficient in making that determination. Evaluation residents are integrated into our treatment milieu, so participants have access to most programming, with the exception of individual and family therapy.