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    Henry Tarkington, MSW, LCSW, LCAS, CCS

    Henry Thanksgiving

    My interest in the field of substance abuse came as the result of overcoming challenges with substances and the multitude of problems they caused me. Like so many of us, it took a lot of legal and life problems to shake me out of it. Upon finally accepting who and what I had become, I began to make changes during a mandatory 16 week program.  A few years later, I got a job as a “substance abuse worker” in the Wake County ATC, inpatient hospital. From there my interest in working in the field grew. A couple of years later, I became a part time counselor. Due to changes in the field, I eventually decided to get a college degree. I ended up completing a Masters of Social Work. First Step came to be as a result of families and individuals I had worked with at Wake County locating me and requesting I provide counseling for them.  From there, it just grew into the company it is today.  I am very grateful to the individuals, families and communities we serve.

    I have a Masters Degree in Social Work and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I am also credentialed as a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist and Certified Clinical Supervisor by the NC Professional Substance Abuse Certification Board. I provide supervision for substance abuse counselors who are working toward certification. As a CCS with an LCSW, I supervise people who are completing both the LCSW, LPC and LCAS or CSAC credentials.

    I believe that all of us have the ability to improve the way we live and to feel more secure. Clients deserve a chance and my goal is to do everything I can do to give them that chance. I use motivational techniques to help clients attain goals.

    First Step Services, LLC, A Brief History
    Posted on April 30, 2014 by Henry Tarkington

    First Step was created in by Henry in 2001, in Garner, NC as a single-therapist practice. In early 2002, “1st Step Substance Abuse & DWI Services,” the company’s original name, became a fully licensed outpatient, intensive outpatient and DWI substance abuse treatment program. At the time, First Step was a part-time program, open only in the evenings and on weekends. Henry, the Owner, had a day job to pay the bills.

    In October 2002, First Step opened our first Raleigh facility on Millbrook Road and quickly outgrew that space. In May 2003, the facility moved to Beechleaf Ct. By August 2003, First Step outgrew that location as well and opened at 211 E. Six Forks Road, Raleigh. The main office has remained at this location since that time. Our Raleigh Six Forks Road facility now occupies 8,000 sq.ft. in Building B at 211 E. Six Forks Road. On June 10, 2003, the name of the company officially became First Step Services, LLC, a reflection of our commitment and desire to provide a broader array of valuable services to those with substance use concerns.

    On September 1, 2003 Henry quit his day job and dedicated his career full time to First Step with the goal of helping people end their problems with substance use. In 2004, Henry hired the first full time employees at First Step and the program has grown steadily since that time. On July 1, 2006 First Step absorbed another behavioral health company and added a Durham facility in addition to our existing Raleigh and Garner locations. In 2006, First Step became an approved vendor by Wake County Public Schools to provide services to teens and their families involved in the school system. In 2006, First Step applied for, and received the highest level of licensure for outpatient Behavioral Health awarded by the NC DHHS. We received a SACOT or Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment Center License. We have an M.D. Medical Director and Psychiatrist.

    In 2010, First Step completed the rigorous process of becoming fully accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, better known as CARF. For many programs, this is a required accreditation, allowing programs to receive State/County/LME and Medicaid funding. We do not receive these types of government funding, therefore Accreditation is not required for First Step. However, in our ever-present desire to provide only the highest quality substance abuse services, First Step completed the accreditation process. First Step Services, LLC was awarded the highest level of CARF Accreditation based on quality of services provided and who we are in the community. Since we do not accept typical government funding, we must earn our living by providing the best services possible to each individual who walks in our door. We do not cost taxpayers any money; in fact, we save taxpayers tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of dollars annually.

    In 2013, First Step expanded into Cary, NC providing substance abuse outpatient services to both adults and adolescents. In 2014, First Step began an Employee Ownership Program, awarding units of ownership to the most dedicated employees. It is Henry’s philosophy and plan to award the most dedicated, loyal and committed employees with a long term commitment from the Company.

    Our counselors are among the best trained, most compassionate clinicians in the area; just read our Client Experiences. These are unedited, unfiltered…every one we receive is included on the Client Experiences web page on this site. Our Therapists are a mix of Masters Level therapists with LCSW, LPC & LCAS credentials and Certified Substance Abuse Counselors. All our faciities are in network with most all insurance companies that operate in the Triangle Region of North Carolina, saving our clients & patients money. Once a client completes any level of Substance Abuse Treatment, he/she is welcome to continue to attend aftercare for as long as one wants for $5 per session.

    We are all very grateful to be fortunate enough to work with so many wonderful clients, patients, families, attorneys, schools, treatment centers, doctors, therapists, EAPs, corporations…I could go on & on. We thank you all!

    Henry Tarkington, MSW, LCSW, LCAS, CCS


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