What to Expect from Residential Treatment Centers

Finding out what to expect from residential treatment centers is very important. There is no way parents can feel good about placing their child in one if they don’t have all of the facts. These aren’t fancy schools or places to send children that you don’t want to deal with. Instead, they are facilities that offer children around the clock care when alternatives have been tried but have failed.

Structure and Rules

Every residential treatment centers has structure and rules in place. This is for the benefit of your child. There may be privileges that have to be earned as he or she progresses through the program. Should rules be broken there are consequences that will be followed through with. Consistency is the key to operating a residential treatment center.

There are certain times of the day that they get up, take part in various activities, eat, and go to bed. The routine as well as the rules will be explained to your child from the start. They may be upset about some of the things they will have to do and some of the limitations. Keep in mind that there are reasons for the rules. If you aren’t sure why something is being done take the time to ask.


In order to offer each child the best care, residential treatment centers have assessments. This helps them to categorize where the child should be, what methods should be explored for treatment, and goals that need to be met before the program is completed. Everything will be explored including education, communication, drug or alcohol abuse, attitude, behavior, and more.

Small Groups

Working in small groups is often part of residential treatment centers. This allows children to form bonds and trust with those in their own group. It also gives each of them more individual attention from counselors and leaders. Due to the fact that small groups work you may find there is a long waiting list to get your child into a specific facility out there.

Good behaviors and progress will be recognized and rewarded. Poor behavior and lack of participation won’t be tolerated. Staff does have skills they can use to help motivate your child to continue working hard and making progress.

Personalized Treatment Plan

Every child has different needs and concerns which is were the expertise of well trained staff comes into the picture. Residential treatment centers offer a variety of elements to help children on many levels. Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a particular child helps a personalized treatment plan to be devised. This approach helps to ensure every child has a very high chance for success once they have completed the program.

Length of the Program

Quality residential treatment centers don’t tell you that your child is going in for a specific period of time such as 90 days. Instead, they have milestones that your child is to reach before they can move on to the next phase in the program. You should be notified on a regular basis about where your child is in the program.

When it is time for your child to be completing the program you will be notified and they will be given that information as well. As a parent you need to be patient and allow this process to work out. If you come in and remove your child from the program after a few weeks or a month then it can prevent them from being successful.

Communication with your Child

The rules at the residential treatment centers will vary regarding communication you can have with your child. It is common for communications to be cut off during the early stages of treatment. You may be able to send and receive letters but no contact through computers or phones.

There may be set visitation days and hours when you can come to the facility and interact with your child. It is important for you to understand when and how you will be able to have contact with your child. It is also important to understand your child may lose such privileges if they don’t follow the rules of the program.

Explore the Specific Program

When it comes to residential treatment centers, they can have many differences. It is very important that you explore what a particular program can offer to your child. You want to find one that covers many areas and that has qualified staff. If you are worried about the cost find out about insurance coverage, scholarships, sliding scale fees, and payment arrangements.

Speak to an expert about What to Expect from Residential Treatment Centers and how it may help your child.

Connect with an Admissions Counselor who specializes in What to Expect from Residential Treatment Centers to help your teen begin their recovery today.

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