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What Are The Different Types Of Troubled Youth Programs?

Finding the right troubled teen program for your struggling teenager can be difficult without knowing what all the options are available. Some programs are voluntary admission, while others are only available if your teen is court-mandated to attend.

By understanding what options you have, you can more easily make the decision concerning what troubled youth program would be the best fit for your teen’s needs.

Court-Ordered Troubled Youth Programs

Parents are often more familiar with court-ordered troubled youth programs, as they are shown—in a stylized form—in media, movies, and TV.

Beyond juvenile prison, there are court-mandated boot camps and other troubled youth programs that are designed to manage children and teens who have engaged in repeat criminal behavior. These programs only accept juveniles who have been assigned by the court system; parents cannot voluntarily surrender their teens to one of these programs.

However, that is for the best, as these court-ordered troubled youth programs have minimal rehabilitation and therapeutic benefits. What a troubled teen needs is therapeutic help in a disciplined environment, not inclusion in the penal system.

Troubled Teen Boot Camp And Wilderness Camps

Parents are often initially interested in troubled teen boot camps and wilderness camps for similar reasons. Namely, these parents hope that their children will shape up after a stint at one of these camps that emphasize strict discipline. However, that is far from the case.

At wilderness camps, teens can learn new outdoor skills, but the main focus of these camps is to have the attending teenagers follow orders. The same goes for boot camps. At the boot camps for troubled teens, struggling teenagers are meant to follow instructions and are disciplined for any infraction with physical exercise.

While this result may sound appealing to parents at their wits’ end, all these camps do is teach teens that someone in power can do what they want. Without a therapeutic aspect, the root problems that your teen is struggling with will not be addressed.

Residential Treatment Centers For Troubled Teens

Lastly, the best option to help teens learn to overcome their struggles and thrive are residential treatment centers for troubled teens. Combining a disciplined environment with intensive therapy, residential treatment centers have teens board at the center for at least six months at a time, though some teens may spend years in attendance to complete the healing process.

At a therapeutic boarding school, teens attend weekly therapy with their personal therapist, as well as daily group therapy. The built-in therapy into the daily schedule—along with academic work and other activities—can help teens work through their struggles.

A variation of these treatment centers is therapeutic boarding schools, which operate similarly to residential treatment centers. In fact, in Utah, where Sundance is located, a residential treatment must first legally meet the requirements of a therapeutic boarding school before becoming certified as a residential treatment center. So, for the more immersive variation of a therapeutic boarding school—in Utah, at least—you should opt for a residential treatment center.

To learn more about our program and how we help teenage boys reach their potential, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have for us. Our program advisors will find you the answers you need to help you decide if our program is a good fit for your son.

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