Finding the Right Program

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Assisting Families in Choosing a program or school: considering your child’s, adolescent’s or young adult’s needs

In going out and searching on the Internet for a program or school, you will witness the competitiveness of the market.

All of the beautiful websites, with dynamic pictures of children and families can be very confusing, and at time, unfortunately, misleading.

The parent or family member who is searching may feel “desperate” in making a quick decision. A wrong decision can be detrimental to your child and your pocketbook.

It is true that one of the most difficult decisions a parent will ever make is placing their child, adolescent or young adult into a program or school, away from home.

This decision may become necessary after a family has attempted utilizing all local resources – and changes have not occurred.

It is an exhausting and overwhelming process.

Knowing that you are looking at the possibility of a treatment program, transitional program, wilderness program or some sort of boarding school is agonizing and the research and search for what is a best fit can be overwhelming and extremely time consuming.

When there is a crisis or an emergency, and clinical resources or an outdoor wilderness program may be needed, the anxiety of researching on your own and hoping you are making the right decision while in a hurry and also worrying, can be scary.

Why Use The Services of Help For Troubled Teen? 

We want you to take comfort in the fact that you are not alone during this time. We have 60 years of combined experience in assisting families and over 20 years in the field evaluating and visiting programs and schools all across the United States. .

When you need specific direction and guidance for your child, adolescent, teen or young adult and your family is in an emotional state of uncertainty, Help For Troubled Teen has Team Members readily available to guide you in choosing a meaningful and productive path.

Researching on your own is time consuming and exhausting. It is an important step in the process however. How do you know that a particular program or school is  best fit for your child, adolescent, teen or young adult? How do you know that everything you read and see on a website is accurate? We are here to help ease that anxiety. Do not be pressured on the phone to place your child by any program or school. Scare tactics are red flags.

We assist you by recommending the optimal program and/or school options which will provide your family and your child / young adult the support needed.

We have programs and schools available all across the United States that provide academic support, clinical support, and family support for those as young as age 9 and those into adulthood. Our goal and intention is the well being of your family and a best case scenario outcome.

No parent wants to fail their child. The first question is which type of program or school will best meet your child’s needs for the current situation at hand?

There are hundreds and hundreds of programs and schools all across the United States and some are even located internationally.

Besides all the different choices then there are different atmospheres, clinical staff, dining options, family support, health support options, learning atmospheres, peer groups, recreational and sport activities, teacher to student ratio, therapist to student ratio and, of course, location options to consider. How do you decide?

How many different kinds of programs and schools are there for teens and young adults?

  • Addiction Treatment ProgramsHFTT Finding
  • Aftercare / Transitional / Next Step Programs
  • Anxiety Disorder Programs
  • Boarding Schools
  • Boot Camps (Will not recommend)*
  • Boys Only Programs
  • Christian Based / Faith Based Schools
  • Clinically Based Programs
  • College Prep Boarding Schools
  • College Support Programs
  • Eating Disorder ProgramsHFTT Finding 4
  • Emotional Growth Programs / Schools
  • Faith Based Programs
  • Family Size / Style Programs
  • Girls Only Programs
  • Learning Disability Programs / Schools
  • Military Schools **
  • PreTeen Programs
  • Residential Treatment Centers
  • Sexual Issue Treatment CentersHFTT Finding 5
  • Speciality Psychiatric and Behavioral Hospitals
  • Spectrum Disorder Programs / Schools
  • Summer Programs / Schools
  • Therapeutic Boarding Schools
  • Therapeutic Treatment Programs
  • Transitional Independent Living Programs
  • Wildernes Adventure Therapeutic Programs
  • Wilderness Therapy Programs
  • Young Adult Programs

No standard definitions exist for specific types of programs. The programs are not regulated by the federal government, and many are not subject to state licensing or monitoring as mental health or educational facilities, either.

Many programs advertise on the Internet and through other media, making claims about staff credentials, the level of treatment a participant will receive, program accreditation, education credit transfers, success rates, and endorsements.

Several independent nonprofit organizations, like the Joint Commission (JACHO), the Council on Accreditation (COA), and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), accredit mental health programs and providers. Do you understand how these accreditation affect certain components of a program?

This is an emotional investment and it is definitely a financial commitment.

How much risk are you willing to take with the unknown? Having a placement fall apart causes many difficulties from financial loss, to having to start the process and work all over again with your teen, young adult and family. This is not a happy experience for anyone.

Parents may at times get recommendations from an associate, counselor, doctor, friend, the person at the local grocery store, health care professionals, interns, janitors at their students school, lawyers, neighbors, school counselors, teachers, and so forth. The ideas they share are nice, and their intention may be to help.

Unless they have spent time being at the program or school they are recommending, have clinical knowledge of the programs philosophy and staff, have done their homework on the financial status of the program to make sure it is solid, and have gone behind the scenes from the marketing aspect of what the program sells, have made numerous visits to the program throughout the year – the situation you are experiencing with your adolescent or young adult may be very different from their own experience or from what they have also been told by someone else.


There is no one-size-fits-all in this situation. At least three to four programs or schools need to be considered before making any decision.

What are the “approximate” monthly costs of some of these programs?

  • Addiction Treatment Programs – $4,750 – $27,000HFTT Finding 6
  • Boarding Schools – $3,000 – $10,000
  • Christian Based / Faith Based Programs – $3,500 – $9,000
  • Eating Disorder Programs – $7,000 – $30,000
  • Learning Disability Programs / Schools – $7,800 – $14,000
  • Military Schools ** – $2,750 – $7,000
  • Residential Treatment Centers – $6,900 – $17,000
  • Sexual Issue Treatment Centers – $9,000 – $14,000
  • Speciality Psychiatric and Behavioral Hospitals – $40,000 – $70,000
  • Therapeutic Boarding Schools – $4,500 – $11,000
  • Transitional Independent Living Programs – $7,500 – $10,000
  • Wilderness Therapy Programs – $15,000 – $30,000

There are some lower cost programs and schools available that we have evaluated.  Some may require voluntary enrollment by the youth and a commitment to participate fully in the activities, counseling, and program community. They tend not to have the higher clinical expertise or staff that some of the more expensive programs offer. When needing to meet a specific budget, please let your Team Member know prior to signing your contract. In this way we can assure you that we can meet your needs and also feel comfortable in the recommendation for your child, teen or young adult.


Always check with your insurance company ahead of time should this be a concern and needed for coverage. Some addiction treatment programs are partially covered by insurance.

Fees at most programs and schools are payable in advance. Taking out a loan to pay for a private program or school is an option some people prefer. When you have good credit and a portfolio of assets which you do not want to liquidate, perhaps borrowing the money is the route to go. As always with matters financial, consult your financial advisor or other trusted financial professional.

You will be making a major financial commitment when you send your child to a private residential program or school.

You need to make the right decisions based on your family situation.

Treatment protocols for eating disorders have advanced considerably in recent years. Unfortunately, many health insurance companies still don’t cover eating disorder treatment or will only provide partial payment. Even when an insurance company does cover treatment, getting the provider to pay out can be difficult and frustrating, especially in the case of services for children and teens.When your insurance policy covers mental health care, you may have a better chance of getting coverage to treat an eating disorder. However, many providers balk at covering residential care for an extended period of time, and some will only pay for outpatient counseling.

There are financial institutions that specialize in providing loans to families that need support defraying some of the out-of-pocket expenses of treatment, including therapeutic and wilderness.

They often lend $500 – $100,000. Repayment often is expected 30 days after the loan has closed (no more borrowing is needed).

Some companies can expedite the approval process when there is serious health risk and funds are needed asap. The interest rates are lousy, however, for a last ditch option, it may have to do – expect 7% – 18%.

American Healthcare Lending is the most common used by families.

When you child is on an existing IEP, School Districts may be responsible for cover all and/or reimburse for all or some of the financial expenses of placing a teen in a therapeutic  program / school. Please contact your local school district office for more information.

Some parents seek the advice and help of an educational attorney. These are attorneys that fight for the school district and/or state to pay for or reimburse expenses of therapeutic programs and other placements. Please seek council for more detailed information.

*Boot camps do not work. Any program that brings punishment into the aspect of their philosophy is not, will not be recommended.

Punishment backfires and can traumatize or even re-traumatize a child.

** Military schools are different than they were 10, 20 years ago. They are more selective now in those they accept, will not tolerate bad behaviors, offer no clinical support, and rely on daily drills that are both emotionally and physically challenging.

They have started refusing to take students that are not “military minded” and may cause problems on campus. These are great schools for the right like-minded student who has the military as something they are considering as a career.

In all considerations of a placement outside the home, the teen or young adult as well as their family is the most important priority in this decision making process.

HelpForTroubledTeen does all the intensive “homework” that is nearly impossible for any parent to do.

Our team does not rely on the internet or a program’s website for our first-hand information.

For over 20 years, our team has been traveling the country, and internationally, doing quality in-depth site evaluations and on-site visits that include meeting with the whole staff, interviewing students in the program without staff present, staying up on any staff turnover and any new employees that join the company.

We review their credentials, theoretical foundations, programmatic philosophy, and methodology. We understand which program will have the best chance of success for the individual needs of the student and their family. We never receive any financial compensation from any program or school.

Our recommendations are solely motivated to benefit the families we serve.

We work with and for your family. We are are not associated with nor do we provide services in connection with any treatment program.

We are compensated for this lower cost reduced service solely by the family in which we are assisting, and in no other way.

We do not ask for full payment up front.

Your Full All Inclusive payment of $1,799.00 is only requested after the client file has been received, reviewed, and an initial 30 to 45 minute call has been completed.

Just letting you know I’ll be working at home today

A best fit / great program that fits your child’s or young adult’s needs can be a life saver while the wrong placement could set treatment and your family back years at significant financial cost.

Visit our page – Having Trouble With Your Child, Teen or Young Adult

Call 303-448-8803 and mention this is a “Help for Troubled Teen” call 

Live Skype sessions can be arranged with your Team Member when that is your request. 

Some companies may provide services, claiming to match troubled teens and even young adults with an appropriate treatment program. Be aware that although some of these services represent themselves as independent, they may not be. They may actually be operated or paid by one or more of the treatment programs they are recommending. Ask the company / service how it receives compensation and do they receive commissions or any type of payment from the treatment programs they are recommending?

This is a RED FLAG.