Our History & Accomplishments
How Turning Point Began
Before 1975, New Jersey residents who could not afford private residential
treatment for alcoholism had to travel to Graymoor in upstate New York
for help. Turning Point’s founders were determined to change this
situation. This group of local politicians arranged with Essex County
for the lease of a building on Hilltop, former site of the TB center on
the grounds of the Essex County Hospital.
With the financial support and “sweat equity” of local members
of Alcoholics Anonymous and other friends, the Men’s Staff Dormitory
was transformed into a 10-bed residential treatment facility for the indigent
alcoholic on St. Patrick’s Day—March 17, 1975. The Essex County
Freeholders provided grant money to support Turning Point, a non-profit
Notable players during Turning Point’s earliest days included:
- Doug McCarthy, trustee and visionary, in whose honor the original Cedar
Grove facility was dedicated
- John Tully, first Executive Director
- Michael Festa, Ph.D., first president of the Board of Trustees
- Nancy Brach, who wrote the initial application for funding
- Al Gorman and Mary Ryan, who were among the original incorporators
Working to Better Serve Our New Jersey Communities
Over the years, the treatment needs of substance abusers have increased
and have become more complex. Turning Point has repeatedly responded to
these changing needs by expanding and adapting our programs.
For more information about our ongoing growth and the programs we currently
offer at our non-profit organization, please contact our office
by dialing (973) 380-0905.
Turning Point became one of the first to open a residential treatment program
for women, which now treats pregnant and post-partum women and those with
In response to the “deinstitutionalization” of those with co-occurring
mental illness and substance abuse disorders, Turning Point opened an
outpatient program and drop-in center at the YM / YWCA on Broad Street
in Newark. The program moved to So. 17th Street in 1991, where it served
a drop-in patients. Many of our Newark patients were referred there for
aftercare upon completion of the residential program. We treated many
court-referred patients from the newly established Drug Court in Newark.
Unfortunately, due to inadequate funding, this program closed in 1998.
Turning Point secured Mutual Agreement Program contracts to provide residential
addiction treatment for patients on probation and parole.
Turning Point obtained a grant from the Department of Human Services, Division
of Mental Health Services, to provide short-term residential treatment
for mentally ill chemical abusers (MICAs).
Turning Point was selected as one of only five providers to participate
in the Campus Treatment Project in Secaucus, a research and demonstration
project funded by the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and
the National Institute on Drug Abuse, through the NJ Department of Health,
Division of Addiction Services (DAS). Located on the grounds of Meadowview
Hospital, the program-which began accepting patients in 1993-included
a 54-bed, short-term residential treatment program for both men (32) and
women (22). The Campus Project ended in 1996, but DAS continues to fund
short-term residential treatment beds for chemically dependent adult men
and women at Turning Point. Patients from Work First NJ Substance Abuse
Initiative are also treated at this site.
1991, Turning Point moved from its original location at the Essex County Hospital
Center to a temporary space in the Freeman Pavilion, and finally to Building
14 on Dill Drive in Cedar Grove.
Turning Point received its first county grant for detoxification and short-term
The Work First Substance Abuse Initiative (SAI) was implemented statewide
to coordinate services for patients who needed to address addiction issues
so they could obtain employment under new welfare reform laws. Turning
Point began accepting SAI referrals; SAI became our largest fee-for-service
1998, in response to a growing demand for detoxification as well as the closing
of residential detoxification programs throughout New Jersey, Turning
Point opened a sub-acute detoxification program for heroin and alcohol addicts.
The year that Turning Point obtained a grant to provide outreach and assessments
for New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). Many
women began being referred to treatment through this project.
2000, Turning Point first became accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation
of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
Turning Point was awarded a grant to develop long-term residential treatment
to its Secaucus site, specifically to serve the Drug Court Initiative-referred
patients. All DAS-funded short-term residential beds in Secaucus moved
to Cedar Grove, to make space for this new program. This was the first
program of its kind, providing intensive medical model treatment for a
2003, Turning Point was selected by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug
Dependence of New Jersey (NCADD) and the White House’s National
Office on Demand Reduction as the “model treatment program”
from which to launch President Bush’s faith-based initiative.
Turning Point was one of only four New Jersey programs awarded collaborative
grants from the state Divisions of Mental Health Services and Addiction
Services to provide detoxification and psychiatric stabilization for patients
with co-occurring disorders, formerly referred to as “mental illness.”
It was a watershed year for Turning Point in 2006, as Essex County sold
the Hilltop acreage to a developer, forcing Turning Point to close its
Cedar Grove facility on Dill Drive. Although the corporate office moved
to Verona, the women’s program closed for several months, resulting
in layoffs. Late that year, the women’s program re-opened in temporary
space at Saint Clare’s Hospital in Boonton.
Turning Point won a competitive application process to develop a statewide
access initiative to place parolees transitioning out of the state prison
system into residential addiction treatment beds.
Turning Point became one of only two providers in all of New Jersey selected
to participate in the state’s Division of Addiction Services expansion
of detoxification services for patients with relatively complicated medical
and psychiatric conditions.
Also in 2008, Turning Point re-entered the Outpatient Treatment arena with
the opening of a facility in Verona. Shortly afterward, the agency announced
that it would take over control and operation of Urban Renewal Corporation’s
addiction, social services, and HIV counseling program at 224 Sussex Avenue
in Newark. Urban is a 400-plus bed, emergency transitional housing program.
Turning Point announced that, for the first time since the agency was founded
35 years ago, it had purchased a facility that would house all of its
residential programs under one roof. Previous facilities had been rented
and were usually housed across multiple locations / counties. Now, Turning
Point permanently occupies a significant portion of the Barnert Medical
Arts Complex in Paterson, formerly known as Barnert Hospital.
With a grant from Mountainside Health Foundation-now known as Partners
for Health Foundation-Turning Point launched a new program to assist the
families of those battling addiction. The Family Wellness Program: Preserving
and Restoring Families Affected by Alcoholism and Drug Dependency offers
information about the disease of addiction, how it impacts families and
how family members can get help, professional counseling, and referrals
to other community resources. Families are eligible to participate whether
or not their loved one who is addicted has made the choice for sobriety.
Also in 2010, Turning Point completed extensive renovations to its new facility at Barnert
Medical Arts Complex in Paterson, NJ. All residential programs and administrative
offices moved to this location during the year with a ribbon cutting ceremony
held on December 9th. This marked the first time in Turning Point’s 35-year history that
the agency has had a permanent home of its own.
In July of 2011: OP Paterson
On July 1, 2014: Anderson House- Merger
John J Clancy was hired as Turning Point’s new Chief Executive Officer
and brought with him a number of managers with a tremendous amount of
addiction treatment experience to revitalize the company’s operations
so that it could further accomplish its mission of providing quality addiction
treatment services to the people of New Jersey.
Turning Point finished renovations of its brand new Detoxification wing
in Passaic County New Jersey.