There are a number of alternatives just as there are a number of problems. Take your time in selecting the type of residential treatment for your teen. It could be that you have no choice in placing your teen in such a program because in serious cases the alternatives might be jail or hospital. But do not hesitate to ask questions and investigate the possibilities. Here are some matters to consider in making your choice of residential treatment for your teen.
But first a word of warning. Some facilities advertise their program online and elsewhere and make certain claims. You are strongly advised to check out these claims first. What are the qualifications of the staff? Where did they train? How much experience in a specific type of counseling and therapy have they had? A recent Report to Congress found disturbing evidence that some programs were not presented as advertised and some results which were claimed were not able to be verified. Of course there are excellent programs and excellent providers but it is wise to be aware of false claims.
Accreditation is a primary subject. There are highly-regarded non-profit institutions which issue accreditation to such groups as residential treatment centers for teens. Does the center you are exploring have accreditation?
What a center offers in the way of programs must be approved by the relevant state authority. Checking with the authority rather than the center is the best way to answer this question.
With many residential centers an academic program is offered. Your teen may require therapy but it is vital for their academic studies to continue. What curriculum is taught? Can the subjects be credited when the teen returns to their previous school?
For every questions you ask, it is often wise to have a follow-up question. For example to the question, “Do you conduct background checks on all your staff?” should come, “Who carries out the checks”?
Because therapy is often a central part of sending your teen to a residential center, what are the qualifications of all medical staff? What experience have they had in dealing with the specific problem faced by your child?
Does the center accept every teen who applies? Be wary of any institution which accepts anyone. What are the criteria for gaining acceptance? Who are you trying to help?
What is your success rate? How do you measure the success of your program? Is there any follow-up with teens who complete their time and move back into their former situation? If so, describe this follow-up work.
What is your discipline policy? How do you handle residents who don’t follow your rules?
In long-stay situations, how does the teen communicate with their family and vice versa? What visiting times are allowed?
What medical facilities do you have on-site? What medical staff do you have on-site? How often do they attend?
What are the costs of the treatment? And with this latter issue be sure to check with your insurance cover. The best facility may not be covered in your policy.
These are just some of the questions you can ask. The health of your teen is too important so please examine all aspects of the potential centers before making a decision.
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