An Overview Of My Experiences/ Accomplishments

Summary of Career Experience and Successes

Why Social Work? Why work with the most wounded, angry, addicted, depressed, and hopeless population in the world? The answer is because I could. I knew I could be trusted when the clients found out I have walked in their shoes. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done and for 20 years I made myself available 24/7 for anyone and they took advantage. When you are 25 and fresh out of college you feel invincible. However I overworked myself and set no boundaries. This infringed on my health, my family and more. Nevertheless I am glad that God gave me the strength day after day to press forward.

My choice to pursue helping hurting people was largely due in part to the fact that I had experienced first hand in my own life the trials and very difficult phases one can go through . I had lived with addiction, divorce, suicide of my brother ( after being molested by his high school priest repeatedly) – I have seen violence and also struggled with severe clinical depression ( Drug Resistant) all my life.  I have been through unexpected major medical issues which ultimately resulted in my wife leaving ,

I had experienced just about all the issues that the population I would work with had – and I absolutely attribute that to my success in every program with any population. As I received accolades and awards at every company I never gave myself the credit but my past.  There is a saying ” people do not care what you have to say unless you have walked in their shoes”

 Its true.



My Social Work career began just a few months after college when I took a job with Father Flanagan’s Boys Town working in a runaway shelter with troubled teens.

I spent a year going to work there when I realized I was ready to move in a home and ended up living in a foster home for 5 years. I had about 35 different teens come and go during that time, some who still contact me today and have their own families now

I have also run day programs for severely developmentally disabled adults, managing and providing ongoing training for 60 adults with disabilities, and training my staff of about 20 on working with this population.

I then spent some years working as an outpatient therapist for a large company called Devereux Treatment Network, where I saw troubled teens and worked with their families on treatment programs. I worked closely with the psychiatrist, doing all the psychosocial assessments as well.

I was promoted and asked to create and run a mentoring program with a clinical flavor, which ended up being called the Therapeutic Friend program, and when I was done there I had 15-20 mentors hired and trained, and we were serving about 100 kids in the county.

In Brevard County Florida, I was hired by Ramsey youth services to start an alternative school for the most difficult expelled students in the county, ones who had not only been expelled from public school but kicked out of the next level of treatment for expelled kids.

In about 1 year, I created, implemented, and maintained a student behavioral & promotional program that resulted in about a 90% overall elimination of any negative type behaviors.

From 18 kids at the start, the school board saw the success and began to send all of the others to me, ending up with 88 kids in all, with about 75% achieving promotion on our program, and about 50% if the students were able to return to their zoned school after a year, as they had acquired the social skills needed to succeed in a public setting.

I was nominated my first year for Brevard County School Administrator of the year in 2003, and the director and board members nicknamed my school “Stonehenge”  as they could not figure out how the same kids who were throwing desks and hitting teachers were now giving tours and calling them sir, and ma’am!

Other areas of Expertise

I have been hired as a consultant and team builder for both staff and patients at hospitals, such as University Behavioral Center in Orlando Florida. I implemented a staff team building project to assist the doctors, nurses and support staff to communicate more effectively. I was also tasked with improving client behavior on the psychiatric unit, and created a program for them still in place today, years later.

Although I have been in management/training positions in the last decade or so, I reiterate that I started every single position at the entry level slot. I was promoted to the highest level of management I could qualify for at each company I worked for . I feel very fortunate to have that kind of record.

Many aspects of the field in general.

I have a mixture of clinical and non-clinical experience. I have worked side by side with psychiatrists helping to rule out or make diagnoses on a client. My surprising journey going from one treatment method with the same population to another and another in totally different environments with totally different populations. Today I consider it a blessing that I can speak intelligently to issues from addiction treatment, to parenting skills, but also be called upon to give a summary of what the major problems are with the DSM-V ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel Of Mental Health disorders)

It has allowed me  to step in and consult in just about any environment and also allowed me to be published internationally by some of the worlds experts in the fields.

In other roles on the administrative end of a school board system,  I’ve written many IEP ( Individual Education Plans) for the population that needed it, and got to work on the non clinical side by focusing strictly on hiring then training Master’s level staff  of about 60.

 Most important to my success was my years working on the front lines with all the populations I trained others on, which gave me my real experience.

                         Misc.  Accomplishments

  • Recognized by the Orlando Magic Foundation for work with youth, including a private meet and greet with Shaq for me and some of my foster kids.. 
  • 4x Certified Family Teacher of the year while at Father Flanagan’s working as a live-in Foster Parent for sexually abused youth
  •  Featured in Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV story on the role of a foster parent.
  • Nominated for Brevard County School Administrator of the year for my work on the expelled youth project in my very first year of opening a school for expelled and violent teens – managing to secure the most successful school of its type in the county history in my first year.
  • Have been the keynote speaker for many youth based and adult based training programs, including  being called on to teach all of the central Florida teachers in three counties on classroom management.
  • Named teacher of the year and employee of the year in my rookie year in teaching expelled students
  • Increased daily attendance at County Senior center in Florida by 100% and was featured in numerous senior publications and articles about getting seniors active and out in the community.
  • Authored over 1000 articles on topics ranging from social work or mental health – to addiction and the major issues we have with psychotropic drugs being over-prescribed by some doctors. I also write extensively on family issues such as effective parenting and dealing with at-risk teens.
  • Most recently I was a guest author on internationally known expert on Foster Care and Good Morning America’s ” Man Of The Year ” last year for his work- Dr. Robert Degarmo on his blog.

Click the link below to view in full.

My Article On Normalization In Foster Care


  • I was contracted by the State of Florida to teach MAPP parenting classes to parents who were at risk of losing custody of their children. At the same time, the State contracted with me to meet with the juveniles of those parents, most were incarcerated so I facilitated a group called Bridges to try and connect the teens and -parents as far as identifying issues and finding effective solutions.
  • Currently, I have a website  ( educating the public on any and all issues that I taught or helped solve in my career. I have followers in 150 countries and am excited to announce we are in the early stages of a goal of providing digital mental health, addiction, behavioral health and much more counseling on an international level from the comfort of people’s homes.

Timothy J. Petri BSW

Don’t Label My Kid! Project- (Creator)