By the time parents consider sending their child away to a residential treatment center for troubled teens, they’ve typically exhausted every available solution.
Traditional therapy may not be intensive enough for a young person whose emotional turmoil, mental illness, social problems or addictive tendencies threaten to capsize their future. An adolescent in crisis needs a safe and structured environment where they can work through the issues and attitudes preventing them from thriving.
It can be difficult, however, to navigate the slew of residential treatment centers to find one that works for your family.
Finding a Home Away From Home
The idea of sending your troubled teen to a nearby residential treatment center can be very attractive. The proximity takes some of the sting of having your child away from home and makes visits and family therapy sessions more convenient. The truth is, however, that struggling teenagers often make more progress when they’re sent further afield.
Immersing your teen in new surroundings serves to remove them from the toxic environment in which they’ve been floundering. If a student has been bullied or ostracized at school, it gives them a chance to press the reset button–redefining themselves away from old pressures and rebuilding their self-esteem.
Conversely, if your troubled teen has an established peer group, they may be part of the problem. Your child will have an easier time undergoing a positive transformation if they’re away from friends who:
- Abuse drugs or alcohol
- Are disrespectful
- Engage in unsafe sexual behavior
- Have antisocial, violent or criminal tendencies
- Have gang affiliations
Parents, we know you love your struggling teen. Even your home, though, can be a toxic environment if negative communication patterns have sprung up between you and your child. If every interaction with your teen escalates into a shouting match, your relationship could benefit from distance, perspective and some new communication skills.
Not all residential programs are created equal. Therapeutic boarding schools for troubled teens vary widely in the kind of treatment they provide, their licensing requirements and their services and staff. As there are no federal requirements, these factors are regulated by individual states.
Some states have lax requirements or fail to provide any regulation at all for residential treatment centers for troubled teens. The states west of the Rocky Mountains, by contrast, have strict regulations.
Utah Has The Strictest Regulations
Utah has particularly stringent regulations regarding how residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools are run. They must have a manager who oversees facility operations and resident supervision; a licensed physician on their staff and a CPR-certified staff member onsite at all times.
To operate in Utah, a residential treatment center for troubled teens must maintain a daytime ratio of at least one staff member to every four residents. All employees or volunteers must pass background checks, while any unlicensed staff members must be supervised by a licensed clinical professional.
Residential treatment centers in Utah must provide a state-accredited education program that puts students on track to receive their high school diploma. They must also include the following personnel on staff:
- A licensed mental health professional
- A licensed psychologist
- Qualified teachers
Sundance Academy Is An Excellent Option
Sundance Academy in Utah is an ideal place for your son to make the changes he needs to move forward into adulthood. Our residential treatment center meets and surpasses state requirements and provides intensive group, individual and family therapy.
Boys at Sundance Academy receive a quality education as well as enrichment in fine arts, music, outdoor recreation, culinary arts and general life skills. Once a teen has graduated from our program, we provide the support they need to successfully transition back to home. Contact us today for more information.