A Run Down of Laws and Regulations for Utah Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Therapeutic boarding schools located and operating in the state of Utah must comply with state laws and regulations, meeting basic health and safety standards. Services provided to adults or children adhere to the same requirements.


Facilities apply for and obtain residential treatment licenses in accordance with state law prior to offering residential treatment services. Utah law requires that owners and board members of therapeutic boarding schools complete at least eight hours of annual training.


Staff and client files, manuals, and records must remain on site in a facility office. On-duty supervisors have access to all locked paper and digital files. Each facility is required to make all documentation available upon request to the Office of Licensing.

School staff records and maintains detailed information on client financial transactions. All fees and expenses clients incur, including non-refundable fees, are provided in written disclosure prior to accepting payments, processing applications or entering into contracts to provide client services. The school must provide itemized accounting of actual expenditures for each client before requiring reimbursement from the client's guardian.

They must also keep accurate records of all funds deposited and withdrawn for each client’s personal use. Client and staff must approve client purchases over $20.00, keeping receipts with the log.


The Utah State Board of Education requires academic curriculum to be accredited by a recognized agency. Therapeutic school curriculum is annually reviewed and updated. The school monitors and documents each client’s academic progress, providing updated monthly reports to the legal guardian.

Admissions Criteria

Policy and procedures manuals outlining admission criteria and actions are routinely updated. School admission requirements include student immunization information along with conditions for admission, barring and removal.

Maintenance, Food, and Zoning

Schools must maintain buildings and grounds to safe and sanitary standards. Facilities must also provide recreational common areas, classrooms, libraries, lounges and cafeterias for group activities.

Registered dieticians plan and create nutritious, appetizing snacks and meals. Clients are served snacks and three daily meals in a dining area furnished with tables and chairs for each client. Food handlers may only prepare food after receiving certification from the Utah Department of Health.

Therapeutic boarding schools must comply with all local zoning ordinances, business license requirements and building codes. They also follow Utah state fire prevention laws and rules, and state and local health codes regarding sanitation and infectious disease control.

Emergency Protocols

Therapeutic boarding schools create and implement emergency response plans to address physical safety concerns. Detailed procedures exist for executing client protection and care in response to natural disasters, severe weather, fire, a major medical occurrence, significant criminal activity, prolonged power outages or other major crisis.

Possible Exclusions

Schools must deny admission to prospective clients who have attempted suicide or attempted serious self-harm within the previous two years. Other criteria for exclusion may include highly aggressive, violent behavior leading, physical or sexual aggression, history of run-away attempts or severe mental illness.

The school must develop client service plans within 30 days of admission and give these to the client and a legal guardian. Policies and procedures describe how medical services are provided to clients.

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