How to choose the right therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center for your teen and family is very challenging.
A simple online search of “therapeutic boarding schools“ yields over 3 million results! Since 2001 we’ve been helping parents navigate this troubled teen industry and find safe and quality therapeutic boarding schools for troubled teens.
Does this describe your teen:
-Teen depression, anxiety
-Teen ADHD, ODD, RAD
-Teen defiance, rage, rebellious
–Internet addiction (cell-phone or video gaming)
-Teenage substance use, drinking, vaping
–Withdrawn, isolation – not participating in family functions
–Changing peer groups
–Failing when capable of passing
-Skipping classes, school refusal
–Self-harm, suicide ideation, digital self-harm
-Stealing (especially from parents), lying, manipulating
-Drifted from your family values
-Property destruction, explosive behavior
If you’re experiencing a few of these behaviors, you’re not alone.
You’ve tried therapy — your teen refused to attend or wasn’t engaging. Outpatient treatment has failed. School setting is not working, you may have tried a short-term hospital stay that was unsuccessful. It’s time consider outside resources to find help for your troubled teen.
How to choose the right therapeutic boarding school for your troubled teen.
Once you’ve determined your teen needs a therapeutic boarding school, now the challenge is finding the right one for their individual needs.
Almost every parent has the same response, they want a program close to home. It’s probably one of the most common mistakes a family can make in selecting the right therapeutic program for your troubled teen.
This is a major emotional (and sometimes) financial decision — in our decades of experience, we urge parents to choose a program that fits your child’s needs (emotionally, physically and academically), rather than geographically. Of course, this is within reason. Since the pandemic, it’s understandable that some don’t want to travel to the other side of the country, however you can be more reasonable when it comes to choosing residential treatment. It’s always wise to find a program outside of your state — without going to the other side of the country.
This helps remove your teen’s temptation to runaway since they are less familiar with the area. We’ve seen parents choose local programs or places their family is familiar with — the teen will run, and this sets their progress back. When this happens, it prolongs their stay at the school and you have to hit the reset button again. There are no winners.
If you’re concerned about family therapy, you will have virtual sessions and parenting workshops which are typically every other month or every 90 days. Check with the program.
This is a reality of life. No matter what your income status, there is help for your teenager — this is information about searching for schools and programs within your financial limits.
Many of these websites are you glancing at don’t give you tuition costs. Some are third-party sites, hoping you will bite so they can acquire your email or phone number and send you lists of programs they are affiliated with — financially. This is not in the best interest of your child, so it’s best to be very careful as you put your information online.
The average tuition starts at $8000 monthly and up. The duration of most programs for young people (12-17) years of age is 6-9-12 months, depending on your child’s needs. Shorter term programs (such as wilderness) will likely give you short-term results. This money can be better spent on a long-term program with long lasting behavioral changes.
Contact your insurance provider. Most PPO’s will provide out-of-network allowances. This helps pay for a portion of these programs (the clinical component). Most of these programs will run a courtesy verification of benefits (VOB) for you. This gives you a strong determination of what will be covered. If you have HMO, state (Medicaid) or Tricare — they typically require you to stay in-network. Contact them directly and ask them for in-network providers. You will have better financial coverage by doing this.
Review our financial page for more options.
3. A.C.E. Factor.
Determining the right placement for your troubled teen is based on what we have developed as the A.C.E. factor:
A. Accredited academics. Whatever school/program you are interviewing, be sure they are accredited academically. Many of these teens entering these programs are typically very smart students yet underachieving in school. It’s important they continue their education. Although we share with parents that their emotional growth is priority in these schools, academics is still important. You can ask to see a copy of their accreditation.
C. Credentialed clinical team. Teenage mental health is a priority. Placing a distressed young teenager into a therapeutic boarding school is hard for the entire family, although therapy typically didn’t work at home, when placed into a new environment, removed from the stressors and triggers of home (as well as peer influences and devices) — the student is able to focus on themselves through both individual and group therapy. Check the credentials of the clinical team, this is also imperative if you are using your insurance. If they are not credentialed, insurance likely won’t cover it.
E. Enrichment programs. These programs are so important to help troubled teens. Enrichment programs are designed to stimulate your child in a positive direction, build self-worth to make better choices and develop coping skills. All of these extra behavior therapy programs can help teens that struggle with anger, rage, depression, anxiety and stress.
Examples of enrichment programs:
–Animal Assisted Therapy
–Horticultural (Gardening) Therapy
Finally, when you did your online search you may have stumbled on sites and reviews that gave you pause. You thought you found a program — until you read some troubling reviews or fearmongering websites about the troubled teen industry. Take a moment to learn how to analyze the troubled teen industry negative reviews.
There are safe therapeutic boarding schools to help your troubled teen. Don’t allow a few bad apples to prevent your teen from getting the help they need.
Read: 5 Benefits of Boarding Schools.
Read: The Purpose of Therapeutic Boarding Schools.
Read: How Effective Are Therapeutic Boarding Schools.
Contact us for a free consultation, we help you find the right therapeutic boarding school for your troubled teen and family.