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How Do I Choose the Best Youth Treatment Center?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

If you are the parent or guardian of an out-of-control teenager or pre-teenager, sending the child to a youth treatment center may be your best option for restoring calm in your home and getting the child the help that he needs. Choosing the best treatment program can be difficult, but usually demands that you find one that specializes in the types of challenges that the child is experiencing. You may also want to investigate the reputation of the youth treatment center and ensure that it has qualified staff, appropriate licensing, and a good reputation in the social services community. You may wish to ask counselors at your child's school for recommendations, or you may decide to ask your pediatrician about treatment centers that his patients have used in the past.

Not all treatment centers are capable of addressing every type of problem that may present itself in a troubled teenager. When looking for a youth treatment center, be sure to ask about the types of issues the center is qualified to address. For example, if your child has a substance abuse problem, you may want to focus your search on youth-oriented drug treatment centers. Other options include treatment centers focused on eating disorders and depression.

Some treatment centers focus exclusively on depression.
Some treatment centers focus exclusively on depression.

You should always ask about the credentials of the center's staff members. Ideally, the center should have licensed mental health professionals on staff as well as a social worker who can connect residents with appropriate social service and health care resources. Senior administrators should hold appropriate educational credentials and be able to demonstrate a significant history of working with troubled teenagers in a residential environment.

Sometimes, a youth treatment center is operated by a religious organization. Although it's treatment program may be secular in nature, it is a good idea to find out if there is any religious component to the program. If the religious aspect of the program is contrary to your family's religious beliefs, you may wish to look for another program.

If you find a youth treatment center that appears to be reputable and capable of addressing your child's needs, you should contact local authorities to find out if the school has been the subject of unfavorable reports. It is also helpful to ask for referrals from people you trust. A family doctor or pediatrician may have suggestions, and if your child is already receiving mental health counseling, you might ask her therapist for recommendations. In addition, if there are any support groups for parents of problem teens in your area, parents in these groups may be able to direct you to programs that their own children have successfully completed. By talking to people who have some first-hand knowledge of youth treatment centers, you may be able to select the best one for your child.

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    • Some treatment centers focus exclusively on depression.
      By: gemenacom
      Some treatment centers focus exclusively on depression.