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Utah Therapeutic Boarding Schools Laws and Requirements


The Utah Department of Administrative Services has put basic health and safety standards in place to govern therapeutic boarding schools for troubled boys. While they have implemented extensive regulations, the following provides a brief overview of the basic requirements needed to obtain a residential treatment license.

Physical Site Requirements

Before any school can offer residential treatment services, certain physical conditions must be met. All school buildings must comply with local zoning ordinances, building codes and fire prevention rules. The buildings and grounds must be kept safe and sanitary. Offices must be on-site, and client records must be safely stored in locked file cabinets. The school must maintain sufficient bedrooms with proper square footage, as well as adequately sized indoor common areas for group activities. The facility must provide suitable beds in a clean and safe condition, as well as clean linens. The school also needs functional, clean and safe bathroom facilities with hygiene supplies.

Staff Mandates

In addition to physical conditions, the facility must meet specific staff requirements in order to be approved for licensure. Each owner and board member of the school must complete annual training requirements. The school needs a director and a supervisor on duty or on call at all times. All staff positions include minimum age requirements along with educational and experiential requirements. Workers must pass background clearance checks and receive applicable training for their positions. All therapeutic boarding schools in Utah must comply with the correct staff to student ratio as provided by the state. The school needs to maintain a staff handbook and policy manual, available to all staff members.

Policy and Procedure Manual

In order to obtain licensing from the state, a therapeutic boarding school needs a current policy and procedure manual outlining admission criteria and procedures. The manual should be presented to each client and legal guardian before any application is processed or payment accepted. The manual must detail exclusion and expulsion conditions, an emergency transportation and response plan, as well as evaluation and assessment procedures. In addition, the manual must outline and explain information regarding curriculum, criteria for awarding course credit, grades, graduation requirements and other academic information. Furthermore, the manual should clearly describe methods of providing specialized structure and supervision of clients on and off site, behavior management practices and counseling services.

Medications and Health Records

According to Health and Safety Requirements, private schools must maintain an official record of immunization for each student in his or her permanent school file. The official forms may be obtained from the Department of Health. Unless an exemption for personal, medical, or religious reasons is provided, a student may not attend a therapeutic boarding school without an immunization certificate. Students can take medication only if a written request is signed by the parent or guardian and the student’s physician. They can receive medication from designated and trained employees if policies and procedures are implemented in agreement with the Department of Health. However, the prescriptions must be properly identified and kept safely and securely. Personnel must correctly document and maintain records on how the medication is given.

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