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 government leaders 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 501(c)3 organization.
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.
A Brief Timeline of Our Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs in New Jersey
- 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 co-occurring disorders.
- 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.
- Also in 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 residential treatment.
- 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 funding source.
- Also in 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.
- Also during 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 long-term population.
- During 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
- Careplus- Integration
- Turning Point merges with Anderson House that provides a halfway house and transitional housing to women in Hunterdon County, NJ. This merger expanded Turning Points continuum of care.
- 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.
- Reaccreditation of Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) - Gold Star
- Robert Parkinson joins as Chief Financial Officer
- Thomas Brady joins as Chief Operations and Clinical Officer
- In cooperation with the RWJBarnabas Health System, we opened an Intensive Outpatient/Outpatient facility in Lakewood, adjacent to the Monmouth Medical Center Southern campus
- The expansion and restructuring of our organization continued with bed capacity increasing to 137 beds in Paterson, including 31 beds for male long term residential and 4 subacute detox beds.