Considerations when Choosing a Residential Treatment CenterWhile residential treatment centers can save troubled boys with addictions, they are not under the oversight of an umbrella government agency. In fact, teens have been injured or even died while enrolled at some of these facilities. In order to protect your son, the Federal Trade Commission suggests that you consider the following factors before choosing a program:
- State licensing. The states handle accreditation of the educational, residential, behavioral and mental components of treatment. You can contact the appropriate state agency to find out further details about licensing. If you want to send your child to an unlicensed facility, contact the following organizations, including the Better Business Bureau, your state’s Attorney General’s Office and your local consumer protection agency. Closely review any complaints that have been filed against the facility, especially those involving neglect or abuse. In some cases, you might also check with a non-profit agency for accreditation. Be aware that different components of the program could be accredited separately.
- Academic curriculum. When addressing the curriculum, ask about teacher certification, licensing and the transfer of credits to your state. Some facilities only provide an online education, or teens might need to wait to enroll in school until they have progressed to a certain point in their treatment.
- Program clinical director and credentials. He or she should hold an advanced degree and have a specific understanding of working with teens as this person is responsible for the oversight of the entire program.
- Counselor and therapist credentials. Review the credentials of the staff members who will be working with your child, including their licensing and certification. You have the right to see these documents.
- Staff experience. While credentials help you feel comfortable entrusting your son to the facility, a lack of staff experience might signify a high turnover rate or difficulty in keeping quality employees. Staff members should also have certification in CPR.
- Background checks. Ask about staff background checks for employees and how thorough they are.
- Admission screening and criteria. Depending on the level of your child’s addiction or the need to address co-occurring conditions, you will want to ensure that the facility can handle your son’s needs. Your regular provider can help address these concerns.
- Individualized treatment. Find out how the facility determines an individualized treatment plan for your son. You will also want to know if the plan stays the same or if it can be adjusted as needed. Inquire about details related to individual and group therapy and their frequency.
- Handling unexpected medical issues. A doctor or nurse on staff can reassure you that your child is safe in the event of an emergency. Find out procedures for contacting you should a problem arise.
- Contact with family members. Review policies for verbal, electronic and written communication and ask about any limits on these.
- Discipline procedures. Find out the facility’s policies on discipline.
- Fees and refund policies. Address all financial matters before you enroll your child.
- Success rates. Ask for the program’s definition of success and the related rates.
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