Specialized Health Services, Inc., a non-profit, private agency was established in 1985 at the request of the North Los Angles County Regional Center. At that time there were no day programs available to meet the needs of individuals with both developmental disabilities and mental illness. The agency currently operates three day treatment programs (vendored as behavior management day programs) and one adult residential facility. In order to continue to provide highly individualized supports, the agency has intentionally remained small with regard to the number of consumers it serves. This lends itself to both agency directors remaining very involved in client programming.

Our Board of Directors is comprised of a variety of professionals in the community as well as family members whose relatives have a developmental disability. The chair of our Board of Directors is a parent of a child with a developmental disability and has served as a member of the board for several years.



Agency Directors
Executive Director: Riva Kestenbaum, MSW
Clinical Director: Patrick Knight, LMFT

Executive Director, Riva Kestenbaum has been with Specialized Health Services, Inc. since 1994. She began employment as the Program Director of the North Hollywood Day Program and then became the agency's Associate Director in 1997. In April 2014, Riva was selected by the Board of Directors as the agency's new Executive Director.

Prior to joining S.H.S., Ms. Kestenbaum worked for twelve years at Tri-Counties Regional Center. She started there as a Service Coordinator and later was promoted to Branch Manager. She earned a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California. She also holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology from U.S.C. Her extensive knowledge and years of experience working with developmentally disabled individuals, including those with a dual diagnosis, have been of great value to the consumers and staff of VISTAS.



Clinical Director, Patrick Knight has been with the agency since 1998. Pat has held several directorial positions in the agency including Program Director at the North Hollywood and Granada Hills day programs, as well as the administrator and behavior consultant for our adult residential facility. Pat received his graduate degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and is a licensed MFT. Pat brings a wealth of knowledge to his position; including excellent clinical skills and proficiency with Licensing regulations. His areas of expertise are in psychopathology, psychopharmacology, and treatment interventions. Pat has been the Clinical Director since April 1, 2014.



Agency Staff
Our agency strives to find motivated staff members that are compassionate and eager to learn more about the specialty areas of developmental disabilities and mental health. Many of our counselors hold college degrees, some of them continuing to work towards their Masters while working at Vistas. Specialized Health Services, Inc. strongly adheres to promoting from within our agency.

While education is important, continuing education is even more important, as the fields of science and medicine are so rapidly changing. Our staff receives regular in service training to keep them abreast of regulation changes and provide them with tools to work effectively with our consumers. Additionally, we provide internships for Master level students from the USC School of Social Work. All staff are carefully screened and have a criminal record clearance.


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