Are Residential and Boarding Schools Same

Are you confused by the differences of residential treatment center and therapeutic boarding schools?

Are you at your wit’s end with your difficult teen?


-Is your teen defiant?
-Addicted to their devices, social media, video gaming?
-Are they destructive, angry?
-Do they refuse to attend therapy?
-Suffering with depression, anxiety and stress?
-Become withdrawn, self-harming, self-medicating?
-Using drugs or alcohol?
-Stealing, legal issues?
-Refusing to attend school, or skipping classes? Maybe facing expulsion.

You’ve now exhausted your local resources and decided it’s time for outside help. Searching for residential treatment can be very daunting. All the terminology is new — confusing — and can be extremely frightening. Since 2001 we’ve been educating parents about this world of teen help.

What is the difference between an RTC and TBS:

The short answer is: it depends on the state and how the state licenses residential programming.  There is no national standard and each of our fifty states have the responsibility to set their own licensure requirements for private-pay residential programming; many states divide up the enforcement between numerous governmental departments and some states do not even regulate private-pay residential care. The scope and specifics of state regulations vary greatly, and some states do not require independent licensure at all.

What these programs all have in common is that they are all addressing physical, emotional, behavioral, familial, social, and intellectual/academic development; it is how that is addressed which differentiates between the TBS or RTC.

We also remind parents not to limit their search by proximity to their home. What’s most important is the best program for their emotional wellness, with the reminder that this is only a small part of their entire life. Also note that parents will be visiting usually bi-monthly – it’s not like a traditional boarding school where you are there every weekend or he/she is coming home regularly. It’s important to allow the program to do their work.

If you are determined to keep them close to home, keep in mind, this can also increase their flight plan in that program since they are familiar with that area.

We always remind parents to search for the following:

  • Accredited academics
  • Credentialed clinical support
  • Enrichment programs (such as animal assisted therapy, music, arts, sports – something your child is passionate about).

Also read:

5 Benefits of a Boarding School for a Troubled Teen

Why Therapeutic Boarding Boarding Schools Work


Contact us for information on therapeutic boarding schools around the country and how to find the right one to fit your teen’s individual needs. 

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Family consultants help parents find reputable residential schools and treatment programs for troubled teens when they have utilized all of their local resources and are overwhelmed by their online searches.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Many parents are at their wit’s end with the challenges of raising teenagers. If you are considering residential therapy, contact us for a free consultation.

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