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care you can trust

Our therapeutic program is administered by licensed professionals and qualified staff. We provide therapeutic intervention in the following three forms: Group, Individual and Family.


We provide a nationally accredited curriculum in partnership with Alta Independent. In addition to our academic offering, we provide an experiential education program that may be used for certification or education credits. 

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Utah Laws & Guidelines

It can be hard to entrust your troubled teen to a residential treatment center no matter how difficult raising them has become. With horror stories about underregulated youth treatment programs circulating online, it can make it even harder to entrust your child to a residential treatment center.


However, Utah has very strict laws concerning the running of residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools.

These regulations will ensure the safety of your troubled teen, so you can feel confident when you send your child away to receive help from one of these youth treatment programs.

Utah Laws Regarding Residential Treatment Centers For Troubled Teens

There are specific laws which Utah has set which directly affects the treatment of your troubled teen while they reside in a residential treatment center. It covers all aspects, from their treatment program to living accommodations.

Academics – Your troubled teen must be allowed to continue their education using curriculum that has been approved by the Utah State Office of Education. Sundance complies with this regulation by being having an accredited education program and providing one-on-one academic aid.

Therapy – Teens in treatment need to receive one individual, one family, and at least one group therapy session a week. At Sundance Canyon Academy, your troubled teen with receive 90 minutes of therapy a week, which can be all in one session or divided into multiple sessions. We hold group therapy daily and schedule family therapy weekly so you can connect with your teen while the session is presided over by a therapist.

Accommodations – Residents of residential treatment centers need their living accommodations to be separated by gender. Sundance only accepts teen boys into their program which is how we stay compliant with this regulation.

Nutrition – A dietician must either be on staff or approve the menus at a residential treatment center, and special dietary needs must be accommodated. The kitchen must be clean and have fully operational equipment. We have approved menus and executive chefs on staff at Sundance as well as offering a culinary program to our students so they can learn a variety of skills.

Exercise – Exercise that utilizes the major muscle groups must be part of the daily schedule. Knowing that troubled teens need an outlet for their emotions, we make sure to have time set aside so that all our students have time for vigorous exercise.

Medication – Medications should be strictly monitored and ensured that the patient receives the correct dose at the right intervals. At Sundance, we keep our students’ medication locked and secure. Only trained staff members can disburse medication, which they do in accordance with the student’s treatment program.

Recreation – Facilities are required to have a varied recreational program that residents can engage in daily. We offer many different recreational outlets to our students such as expeditions, strong music program, and other activities.

Correction – All policies and procedures concerning the correctional use of isolation, timeouts, involuntary medication, and strip searches must be reviewed before approval. The use of painful stimuli correction is prohibited. However, at Sundance, we do not use any of these methods to correct poor behavior and instead rely on natural consequences to deal with non-compliance. For example, if a student refuses to prepare correctly for an expedition, they will not be allowed to attend and must remain behind with staff as their peers enjoy the outing. This form of positive peer pressure, coupled with therapy, has proven to be very effective.

Regulations A Residential Treatment Center Must Meet In Utah

Along with the many laws regarding the direct treatment of your teen while in residential treatment, there are even more laws and regulations regarding the facility itself. All Utah facilities must stay compliant with these laws to retain their residential treatment center licenses.

Professional staff – The director of a residential treatment center needs to have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent training in a human services field as well as 3 years experience in managing a secure treatment center. There must also be either on staff or a consulting: licensed clinical physician, licensed psychologist, and licensed mental health therapist. A full clinical team is on staff at Sundance to meet this requirement.

Staff training – All staff which directly care for residents must have current CPR and first aid certifications. All unlicensed staff members which work with the troubled teens must have 20 hours of training regarding the best practices. We ensure this at Sundance Canyon Academy and follow up with regular training workshops so our staffers maintain top standards of care.

Record keeping – Youth treatment centers must keep accurate records on each student. Sundance creates a file for every student where their therapy, academics, and behaviors are carefully documented.

Staff to resident ratio – There are particular guidelines on the staff to resident ratios, with the smallest set at 20-39 residents to 1 professional staff member. For the unlicensed staff, there must be 1 staff member to 5 residents. We are an exclusive program and allow only 16 students at a time. That way we can always keep our treatment center well over the required staffing.

Treatment plans – All facilities must provide individual treatment plans for their residents which are reviewed and signed by a licensed clinical professional.  Sundance Canyon Academy makes individual plans for our student regarding every aspect, from their therapeutic treatment to their academics.

Facility environment – Every facility must follow local zoning requirements as well as having fixtures and furnishings which will prevent suicide attempts. As many students which come to Sundance are suffering mood disorders, we have taken great care to outfit our facility with the right furnishing to prevent any outbursts.

Building requirements – There should be separate spaces for administration, therapy sessions, indoor activities, and at least 1 restroom per 6 residents. With our residential treatment center located out in Herriman, Utah, where there is plenty of space for all these areas and more.


Laundry care – Equipment will be provided if laundry is supposed to be done by residents. Laundry done in common will provide separate containers for soiled and clean laundry. Clean bed linens will be provided at least once a week. With our 16 students, we are able to allow them to do their own laundry so they can learn skills in self-sufficiency and responsibility.

As you can see, there are many legal protections for your troubled teen during their stay in a Utah residential treatment center.


Here at Sundance Canyon Academy, we not only meet all the licensing requirements but go well above them so you can feel comfortable entrusting your troubled teen to our program.


Feel free to contact us to learn more about our exceptional program and how we can help your family.

live. learn.

Our motto reflects our commitment to each and every student.


We understand adolescence can be difficult and often painful.


At Sundance Canyon we help our students identify their strengths and develop purpose in their lives as they look to the future with a strong foundation and leadership structure to guide them.

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