Choices Integrates Adolescent Recovery Services in Worcester

WORCESTER, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Choices was formed with a mission to create a safe, supportive, and respectful recovery community where adolescents struggling with addiction and mental illness can reclaim and restore all aspects of their lives. We accomplished our mission by providing programs and services that enhance the behavioral health field and through quality youth-centered, comprehensive approaches to address the underlying and multiple unique challenges youth in recovery face daily. In our inaugural year, Choices was awarded a two-year grant of $1.1 million from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services to strengthen the mental health workforce pipeline through our Work Ready MA program that matches BA and MA level behavioral health students with active internships in partnership with local colleges.

More recently, Choices was 1 of 4 grantees in the United States to receive federal funding for youth and young adult early diversion. We received an award of $330,000 renewable for 5 years totaling $1.6 million from SAMHSA to support the implementation of Early Diversion Worcester (EDW). This will allow Choices to provide a holistic, comprehensive early diversion program for adolescents, ages 14-21, with the aim of reducing the number of adolescents with mental health, substance use or co-occurring disorders that are involved in the criminal justice system and reside in Central Worcester County. The program is rooted in evidence-based practices that are recovery-oriented, trauma-informed and equity based to improve behavioral health and advance pro-social skills allowing for success in school, life, and community.

Funds will be used to:

Divert youth from the juvenile justice system to community based mental health and substance misuse services and other support services in a culturally competent manner.

Build collaborative partnerships among relevant agencies.

Build community capacity.

Prevent and decrease substance use through evidence-based practices.

“We are incredibly excited to be able to provide this high level of service to Worcester’s youth and grateful for the generous support and investment of SAMHSA into early diversion initiatives,” says Billy Beers, Executive Director, Choices. “Early Diversion Worcester will have a direct and profound impact on local youth and families, providing them with a guided path to recovery and the ability to reclaim their lives.”

This work is not done in isolation. It requires community impact and involvement. Choices will convene a Behavioral Health Partnership Group (BHPG) that will meet monthly to share observations of challenges, trends, innovation, brainstorm solutions and create a strong collaborative to support complete wrap around services.

Won’t you join us? For more information, call (508) 901-9930 or email


Choices serves Worcester County with collaborative partners across multiple disciplines. Our mission is to create a safe, supportive, and respectful recovery community where adolescents struggling with addiction and mental illness can reclaim and restore all aspects of their lives. Our year-round programs and services lead with recovery and address the critical areas of an adolescent’s life that are impacted – academics, peer support, youth development, leadership, and mental health. All programs are replications or innovations developed to improve how we help adolescents and create positive change in their lives. We aim to be fully inclusive reaching children and families from all socioeconomic groups, races, culture, and religions.


William Beers

Phone: (508) 901-9930