Does your child need residential treatment? How to determine if a teen, youth or child is in need of residential treatment for children.
Children are one of the most vulnerable populations when it comes to emotional difficulties. Mental health, addiction, family issues, trauma, and much more are common problems in child development. There are many crucial decisions when dealing with a child in need of residential treatment, and it is difficult to know if your child is in need of this type of care.
The need for residential treatment for children is often overlooked or brushed off due to an incorrect belief that children cannot have mental health struggles. The truth is that every child has the potential to have difficulties. Without help, these challenges can lead to serious consequences including suicide, early pregnancy, drug use, alcoholism, or depression.
Treatment programs provide families with support, guidance and wholistic programing. In a treatment center, all the child’s needs are addressed in one setting. If you’re not sure if your child needs residential treatment, read on to find answers.
- What are Residential Treatment Facilities for Children and Teens?
- What is the Residential Treatment Process?
- When Should Parents Consider Residential Treatment?
- What is Children’s Inpatient Therapy?
- How Can Families Afford Residential Treatment?
- How to Find the Right Program for Your Child
- What are the Risks of Residential Treatment for Kids?
- Common Symptoms that Require Residential Treatment.
What are Residential Treatment Facilities for Children and Teens?
Residential treatment for children describes a process in which a person, typically a child or teenager, is temporarily removed from their home to live in a residential facility for the purposes of therapy, medical care, or other services.
In this period of time when they are away from their parents and family, they will have access to facilities and resources that can be helpful to them. This type of setting is meant to provide stability and consistency for the child while they work on overcoming an addiction or mental health issue.
What is the Residential Treatment Process?
The residential treatment process is a therapeutic intervention involving a child living away from home and family for a set amount of time in order to receive supported mental health care or addiction treatment while in a safe setting.
Programs vary, but most residential treatment provides a secure (often locked) location where staff supervise the children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
How does residential therapy work? Residential treatment programs are available for many mental health and behavior issues. While in residential care, children live at the facility and attend school, go to therapy, and engage in positive activities.
At residential treatment, often there is a behavior program where children receive rewards or privileges when they engage in appropriate behavior. Children who exhibit safe behavior may be taken into the community for age-appropriate field trips, shopping, and activities. All activities are carefully supervised by staff.
The residential process typically lasts three to nine months but can last longer. The length of the program stay is based on how serious the mental health and behavior needs of the child. The goal is to determine what the student needs in order to live a healthier life, including being safe with himself or herself and others.
Children who live in residential treatment stay in a bedroom by themselves or with another child. They are allowed to have some of their own belongings such as clothes, books, and toys. If children do not have these items, the facility will provide them.
When Should Parents Consider Residential Treatment?
The main objective of residential treatment is to provide intensive intervention in a safe, nurturing environment.
There are many factors that may lead to the decision to consider residential treatment. These can include:
- trauma history
- mental health history
- current emotional needs
- current emotional state
Residential treatment is a high-level intervention and therefore only for children with the greatest level of special needs. Often, only children who are dangerous to themselves or others will qualify for out-of-home treatment in an inpatient or residential setting.
Therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness programs and military schools often accept children with less severe behavior or mental health needs.
What is Children’s Inpatient Therapy?
Inpatient therapy for children is a form of psychotherapy that is typically carried out in a hospital or children’s behavioral health center. This type of therapy may be recommended for children who have been struggling with ADHD, autism, BPD, or depression and anxiety.
Inpatient therapy permits children to work on their issues in an environment where they are comfortable and feel safe without interruption from daily life or family relationships.
How Can Families Afford Residential Treatment?
The high cost of residential treatment can make it difficult for families to afford, but there are some steps you can take to make this more achievable.
It’s worth noting that many insurance companies, including Medicaid, cover a portion of residential treatment costs.
If you are planning to self-pay for care, there are different programs for different needs and budgets, so do your research. Once you have found some suitable programs, calculate how much it will cost per day and compare these prices with what you can afford. Cost does not necessarily equal the quality of the program.
In limited situations, school districts or the foster care system will pay for out-of-home placements.
How to Find the Right Program for Your Child
In the last decade, more programs have been created for children and teens with mental health conditions. These programs offer therapeutic boarding schools, therapeutic day schools, and group homes that provide emotional, behavioral and academic support.
Some of these schools are better at helping students with certain conditions while others excel in a different area of treatment. Parents can find a school that fits their needs by looking at what they hope to achieve from the therapeutic program they choose for their child.
Click here to find a list of treatment programs for children with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder).
What are the Risks of Residential Treatment for Kids?
While residential treatment programs are often the last resort for youth who need intense rehabilitation, there are some risks to consider.
Children are meant to live in families and communities. Taking a child out of their home and placing them in residential care is putting them into an artificial situation. Relationships with parents, siblings, relatives and friends may be damaged or estranged during this time away, too.
Another issue that arises with children in centers is that they are at risk of learning negative behaviors from other students.
Finally, it’s possible that the child will return home without improvement or even be worse.
Common Symptoms that Require Residential Treatment.
The following is a list of symptoms that may warrant residential psychiatric treatment.
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
A residential treatment center can provide education, therapy, and structure for children with behavioral problems. While the decision to place a child into treatment is never an easy one, sometimes it is the most loving choice a parent can make.
Are you considering military boarding school for your child? Do you have a boarding school recommendation? Share in the comments below.