Choosing an Adolescent Residential Treatment Center for your Teen

When I was first told that my son needed “residential treatment” they could have been speaking a foreign language. I had no idea what a residential treatment facility was like or where they were. I had heard of kids going away or leaving home, for different intervention reasons but never paid much attention because I did not think  “it would ever apply to me”.  Often times you do not have the time to interview different facilities and are at the mercy of a professionals recommendation. Since my son went to a Wilderness Program I had a few months to find out what residential treatment facilities were are all about

First, there are hundreds of treatment centers for teens, choosing which to visit can be daunting and getting recommendation can also be frustrating.  Many professional do not want to give out names until “they can make the right recommendation” for your child. Just getting the names of the facilities to visit was a battle. We did use an educational consultant to help us find both a Wilderness Program and placement at  a residential treatment center. Residential Treatment for adolescents is composed of both mental health treatment and education. Many have special programs for specific issues, most have extensive substance abuse programs.

Before my son was placed I visited the following facilities, by no means take these as recommendations for your child. What I can say, is the list below did give me an idea of the different types of programs and facilities that are available. I am not attempting to rate them, there are reviews on the internet of the different residential treatment centers.  All the programs I visited are, coed, in Utah and NATSAP approved:

Logan River Academy
This facility is located north of Salt Lake City about 1.5 hours, in Logan River, Utah

Island View
This residential treatment center for adolescents is located about 30 minutes north of Salt Lake City, in a residential area. This RTC is very highly regarded and is a complete lock down facility. IV is a part of the Aspen Education Group .

The Heritage School
This therapeutic boarding school or RTC is located in Provo, Utah. Brigham Young University and a number of other higher education schools are in this area, so it is a bit of a college town. The school is about 1 hour south of Salt Lake City. Heritage has beautiful grounds and is not a lock down facility. The school is a non-profit.

Willow Creek School
Willow Creek School is a clinical boarding school and is located in Provo, Utah (see information on Provo above). I wished my son would have been able to attend a program like this. WCS is really a step down from, Logan River, Island View and The Heritage School.  This school is not a lock down facility and many of the kids were able to go off campus. Last I heard, this school is run by the same organization as Second Nature Wilderness Programs

Youth Care
Youth Care Residential Treatment Center for troubled teens, is located in Draper,  Utah. My estimate it is about 30 minutes south of Salt Lake City. Youth Care is very different from the other facilities. It is a much more therapeutic intense program, that works with the kids to get them stabilized so they can transition home or most times to another facility. Teens usually stay here for a shorter period of time. Youth Care is a part of the Aspen Education Group .

Pine Ridge Academy
Pine Ridge Academy is a therapeutic boarding school and residential treatment center for youth and teenagers between the ages of 11 and 18 who are experiencing emotional, behavioral, or academic difficulties. This facility is also in Draper, Utah and is the step down program for YouthCare. Pine Ridge Academy is a part of the Aspen Education Group .

If you are interested in visiting any of these locations, feel free to give them a call and schedule a tour, they all have admissions offices. If I had known it was that easy it would have made my life much simpler during an already stressful time.

106 thoughts on “Choosing an Adolescent Residential Treatment Center for your Teen”

  1. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle
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  2. I would like to give my input on new haven ROTC in Spanish fork it. It was a girls treatment center of about 60 girls. I did not go to wilderness or any other program before new haven. I was therefor 15 months. The staff were so friendly. Both the therapist I had we’re very calm and patient with me. Since I couldn’t trust opening up to anyone cuz I always got in trouble for lying even if it was the truth. I thought I could bs my way through the program and be back home with my friends and go back to who I was. I did not want to change who I was at all. I rebelled against them for months till they caught on to what I was doing and started making me actually have to work. I know I’m grateful for going there and actually graduating high school and pretty much the program. If I didn’t turn 18 I would of finished the program. For anyone that is looking into sending there daughter I would recommend new haven. I made some of my close friends here!

  3. My daughter was at Heritage for over 3 years. I’m thankful for all the help they gave my daughter, however, beware of the nursing office. The nursing office will send your child to the doctors and emergency room for every little thing and run up thousands of dollars in costs to unexpecting parents. My daughter was constipated, but that could not be determined until $1,000 in medical costs. She punched a basketball – $200 medical cost (no injury found), bumped her head while playing – $300 medical cost (no injury found), kicked a fence – $200 medical (no injury found). The list went on and on. So beware. They will call and say its necessary, and if you argue they will advise they will pay it themselves, but don’t. I’m currently sitting with over $1,000 in unneccessary medical bills they ran up – when I complained they went to administration and kicked my daughter out of the school. SO BEWARE they will find every reason under the son to take your child to the doctor and you have no say.

  4. Hello. My name is Tyler. This article was obviously posted a long time ago, but for some reason tonight is the first time I have ever bothered to do a search for Willow Creek. I spent a year of my life living at that school. I spent several months before that in Second Nature. I had a mostly excellent experience in SN, much less so in WC. You may ask me anything.

  5. I use to work at Heritage and I was amazed at the work the kids and families were able to accomplish. Everyone working there is truly invested in the care of the kids. I can really only say positive things about that place.

    It’s good to check out a few places to make sure you find a program that fits the needs of the family, not just the child who will be going through the program. Best of luck to anyone finding themselves in need of a residential program. It can be a long road, but also very worth it in the end.

  6. Our son has been at Lifeline for the last 6 1/2 months. He is a completely different person than he was before. We had hoped to get our son back, you know the one we used to have. what we’re getting is something much better. The experiences and maturity he has gained there is something he didn’t have before and couldn’t have gotten from us at home. He should graduate in about 2 months. He’s 17, just got his first job, and is really looking forward to life. Lifeline was a tremendous blessing in our lives.

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