Three people sitting at a table.

Penn Foundation at Indian Creek Foundation Outpatient Center

In 2009, Indian Creek Foundation and Penn Foundation formed a collaboration to fill a gap in the behavioral health service delivery system. Behavioral health services for individuals with a dual diagnosis of an intellectual or developmental disability and a mental illness were either non-existent or lacking in quality.

With over 35 years of experience, Indian Creek Foundation had expertise in the sensory, communication, and behavioral needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Penn Foundation’s skilled psychiatrists, clinicians, and more than 80 years of experience in behavioral health offered clinical and administrative expertise to assist in establishing a satellite outpatient site at Indian Creek Foundation to provide specialized services for the dually diagnosed.

The North Penn Community Health Foundation provided consultation and start-up funding to open a licensed Adult Outpatient Center. Thirty adults were anticipated to enroll in the first year. However, the program had over 70 referrals in its first year, a true indication of the unmet need in our community. To date, more than 200 dually diagnosed adults have been served.

The unique partnership builds upon the organizations' core capacities. Its service model utilizes adapted psycho-educational curricula, such as the Happy Healthy Life program, a collaboration between Indian Creek Foundation, JEVS, Scattergood Foundation, and the Montgomery County Office of Behavioral Health and Developmental Programs. Other aspects of the service model tailored to meet the unique needs of the dually diagnosed are:  medication management, psychological testing, behavior support, certified peer specialist, trauma informed approaches, and specialized therapies that focus on the challenges faced by individuals who live with a dual diagnosis and their caregivers. Outcomes include:

  • Members of the female trauma treatment group experienced an average 9% reduction in the total number of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms over the first six months of treatment
  • 30% of Happy Healthy Life graduates experienced full achievement of their long term treatment goal, with 100% of participants making progress toward their treatment goal
  • 100% of consumers and staff who participated in Happy Healthy Life reported an increased understanding about mental illness and recovery

The Penn Foundation at Indian Creek Foundation program continues to build relationships with numerous community partners to create a niche that fills the traditional gap in behavioral health services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Plans for 2012 include expansion of outpatient services to introduce a program designed for children and adolescents with a developmental disability, such as autism or with an intellectual disability, and behavioral health needs.

More information about the program can be found at or contact Janice Nuss, Program Director of Penn Foundation at Indian Creek Foundation Outpatient Center, at 267-203-1500 ext. 110.