First Steps When Selecting Troubled Youth Programs

Troubled youth programs can be a mysterious world from the outside. Are they safe? Do they really work? What happens once my teen is enrolled in a program? This article will discus what to expect as you’re teen goes into therapy.

The first step is choosing a program. Programs differ on discipline, cost, and specialty. Some are long term (1 to 4 years) and some are short-term (15-90 days). Once you decide on a program being accepted is the next step. Filling out an application is easy and the program staff will help if you have questions. Once you are accepted a contract is signed and a deposit is required.

Once the enrollment process is done arrangements need to be made for the teen to be dropped off. One common method is for a parent to mislead the teen into thinking they are passing by a possible school or program. When they find out that it’s a trick most teen are angry. This generally works for teens that aren’t violent or destructive in nature. Another approach is to hire trained escorts to move the teen to the program. Escorts work as a team and move teens safely across the country if needed. These escorts come very late at night and surprise the teen as to avoid unnecessary conflict. Some parents leave the home and some stay to say sorry and to wish them good luck. Either way the anger most teen’s feel is unavoidable.

Some programs (like wilderness therapy) require a student to successfully graduate from a rehab center. This is due to the fact that many teens have been seriously injured or died while trying to detox in a harsh wilderness setting. There are also some health requirements that need to be met for most programs. A physical from a physician is generally the most that’s required. Most programs follow a strict schedule to give out medication and the correct prescriptions are a must.

Now its time to check your teen into the program. The check-in process is very thorough. The programs I worked for did a full strip search for every student. The privacy and feelings of the student are very important and this is done quickly and discretely. This is by far the worst part about checking in. The second worst part is leaving behind all the music, clothing, and sometimes, the haircut of their past life. A drug test is also administered. The results of the drug test are to protect the student if they are on heavy drugs. Sometimes they will spend some time detoxing before they are fully integrated into the program. After check-in the student will have a crash course on the rules and guidelines of the program.

This crash course provides the expectations and rules. After they pass a simple quiz they are then introduced to the group they will spend most their time with. In the years I’ve worked with troubled teens each teen is accepted into the group very quickly. The next part of troubled youth programs will be discussed in the next article.