Updated on August 4, 2020
What To Expect From Youth Residential Treatment Centers
What happens to your son or daughter if they go off to a youth residential treatment center? As a concerned parent, or as a concerned teen, you want to know what to expect. It may be a scary time for parents and child but life will be less scary if you know what is most likely to happen at the center.
Well the first thing to know is there will be rules. Obviously if you are dealing with kids who may be depressed or in trouble with the law or with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, etc., you must have rules. Generally speaking these rules are tough to begin but can become more relaxed as time passes. The aim is to help the teens and so as they settle into the program, their rules are less restrictive.
So upon arriving and checking in the teen will undergo a basic test. This is to help the staff in their placement of the resident. You see nearly all residential centers take new arrivals and place them in a group. Each group will have about 8 members give or take a few up or down. The aim is to work both individually with the residents but also with them as a group.
There will usually be a meeting between staff and the parents of the new arrival. The aim is to set goals for the teen and to help staff get some input from the parents. Remember the parents will leave soon after arrival and the teen will be away from the love and protection of their family. Early days can be tough but with the training and experience of the staff, the teens soon find their feet. And being with other teens who often share the same problems helps as well.
Most centers will have a curriculum with goals for academic progress, behavior targets and general attitude grading. Everything is explained to the teens who will see that by working hard and achieving their goals, their status and self confidence will rise, their time at the center will be more enjoyable and they will find rules relaxed and privileges granted. Good results means special treats are allowed – going on excursions, going to bed later, etc.
It is rare for any center to tell the resident of the end of their stay. This is because some teens will simply go through the motions knowing they are due for release on such and such a date. The goal is to help the teens work hard and to reach their goals. The extra aim is to make sure the teen is changed as a result of their time at the center and that the change will continue once they leave.
Staff members at centers will tell you that most of the students do the right thing most of the time. The secret is to help the students avoid trouble spots and continue their rehabilitation going on to graduate with honors. The residential center is just the first step in creating young people who are keen to do well in life.
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