Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Eden, May 4, 2009.

  1. Eden

    Eden New Member

    My difficult child who is now failing his junior year of high school, has come to me asking to go to a boot camp or a boarding school. Boot camps terrify me and I don't know how to even begin finding a good, effective therapeutic boarding school. Do any of you have any advice for me? We need a place that will enforce a structure and authority with him, but where he can also catch up academically. We live in the Dallas area, but I really don't care where the school is.

    Thanks so much in advance.
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Have you checked out Lon Woodbury's site?
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Lon Woodbury's site is:

    We are in the process of investigating residential treatment programs for our son, who is turning 16 this week. Because we want to make sure any program we choose is safe and meets our son's needs, we are using an educational consultant to suggest programs to us.

    I wish you luck in finding a program that meets your difficult child's needs.
  4. TBS's can be a good thing, but remember to check out the economy. I have seen a lot of them struggling right now. The chain, which is running the one here in Lucedale has been shutting schools down in Georgia, Montana and New York. There is also not very much life at the campus here in Lucedale, so I guess that it is a matter of time.

    Their largest competitor closed a wilderness program and a TBS in Texas. You must have seen something in the paper because the school was located in Conroe and was a typical example of a modern TBS.

    On Woodbury's site you will also find info about a lot of other closures and everytime it is the children who loose when a school close down. It becomes yet another failure in their lives.

    When you locate one, then try to find groups of alumni on Myspace or Facebook and watch what they are writing. I have known several families where TBS became a kind of timeout because there was a kind of underground community at the school. When the kids leave they are so much closer to 18 and then you have no saying in the matter anymore.

    What about a normal boarding school instead where your difficult child can receive therapy outside school? It stills have the structure which seem to the one thing which is in demand.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I would LOVE to seend my son to a boarding school when he's released from Department of Juvenile Justice but is there a way to get it paid for or get financial assistance?
  6. cyncan

    cyncan Guest

    Hi Eden

    Check out the national guard youth challenge. The michigan program is a 22 week residential 'boot camp' with a 12 month post camp mentor period. The kid has to volunteer for the program. They can take their GED at the end of the program as well.

  7. Eden

    Eden New Member

    Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful replies. I think we are going to work with an educational consultant, but I will certainly look at all the programs and web sites you suggested.
  8. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    I hired an ed consultant to help find an appropriate placement for my then 15 year old difficult child (now sixteen). We ended up doing something different, but from my limited experience with two very respected ed consultants, one based in upstate NY, the other in Idaho, I found them to be remarkably similar in that they recommended the same thing: immediate placement in a wilderness program followed by placement in an emotional growth or therapeutic boarding school. Several of the schools were from the well-known Aspen educational consortium (they may be for profit, not sure) which tends to use either a 12 step or peer counseling structure; some of the schools were fundamentalist Christian academies with no mental health component, and some were in a category by themselves, like working farms with boarding schools.

    Feel free to private message me and I'll be glad to tell you which schools were recommended to me.

    Best of luck, this is one of the most challenging things I've ever done as a parent.
  9. dadside

    dadside New Member

    I've got more-than-average understanding of the options in the "world" of therapeutic boarding schools and educational consulting. Most Ed.Cons. are honest, but not all. Some are nothing more than a front for a group of schools, and some are interested only in a quick buck. One well-regarded Ed.Cons. told us he wouldn't consider schools he didn't already know, and wasn't expanding his list! Others will do significant interviewing if appropriate, testing if needed, and real research to get a good "fit" --- plus they will follow-up as well. Naturally, the more service you get, the higher the likely cost. So, the better you can define the needs, the easier and less costly the service can be.

    As I read it, your son asked to go to a boarding school, not a therapeutic boarding school. He may not recognize the difference, or fully understand what he is asking for other than a different place. Do learn about how any school you consider operates, perhaps visiting first, before you make a commitment. (And, I'd forget about a boot camp unless it was the one in the National Guard Youth Challenge program. According to their web site: "The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, a preventive rather than remedial at-risk youth program, targets participants who are unemployed, drug-free and law-free high-school dropouts, 16 to 18 years of age.")

    Some TBSs require wilderness first, but far from all. One excellent school I know advises against spending the money on wilderness. Some schools operate on a semester or similar term system, while others use supervised and guided self-study which can allow catch-up in credits. Few TBSs have what most would call strong academics because the focus is on the therapeutic aspect. (However, some schools using self-study can also do AP classes that way!)

    So ... a wide range of possibilities.