Parent Robin K. shares how they paid for therapeutic boarding school for their son.
Are you considering sending your child or teen to therapeutic boarding school and wondering how to pay for it and exactly what it will cost? In order to help other parents, Robin, mom of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), graciously agreed to share the process their family went through.
What is Therapeutic Boarding School?
Therapeutic boarding schools are establishments where children or teens live and attend school in a structured, safe situation. Most therapeutic boarding schools are private pay.
Click here to learn more about how structured boarding schools work and click here to get a list of therapeutic boarding schools by state.
Prices for Youth of Vision Academy (VOVA)
Robin’s family chose to send their son to Youth of Vision Academy in Jamaica. Click here for more about this boarding school and other schools that serve children with attachment disorder. Youth of Vision is a private Christian boarding school outside of the United States.
Insurance is not covering any of their costs.
Here are their monthly expenses for their son’s care:
- Monthly tuition of $2,450 per month. The school requests a commitment of at least 24 months.
- Psychiatrist visits of $200 each, biweekly. The psychiatrist on their staff isn’t an in-network provider and they will have to pay out-of-pocket for biweekly visits.
- Medications at $561 per month. The pharmacy is also not in-network so they will have to pay cash for medications.
- Monthly school supplies at $70.
- Total monthly payments to YOVA adds up to $3,281.30.
- Robin notes that they also spent $550 ahead of time buying their son the supplies he needed. The school provided a packing list that included things like clothes, shampoo, bug spray, uniform specific kinds of clothes, etc.
Robin’s family set the school up as a direct deposit bill pay from their bank and will make monthly payments that way.
They took out a large bank loan and also set up a GoFundMe page so that friends and family can contribute to their son’s care.
Transportation to Therapeutic Boarding School
Families can transport their child to residential treatment or therapeutic boarding school or consider using a transition coordinator.
Robin’s family used Charles Mitchell with Family Transitions LLC, 213-221-9944 (texting preferred) who she highly recommends, to get their son from their home in the United States to Montego Bay. Charles met the family at the closest local airport and flew with their teen to Jamaica.
Here are the transportation costs that Robin’s family paid:
- Charles required a $1000 credit card deposit.
- They paid $4700 at the airport. He gave them a discount to pay in cash and not have credit card fees.
- Charles handled all the flight bookings, helping their son through customs, getting his student visa (in coordination with YOVA), and meeting with the school’s transport team outside the airport.
- Charles paid (out of the money they paid him) a $350 visa fee and YOVA transportation fee, bought their son food in the airport, a book for the plane, and a treat to keep him happy and compliant on the flight.
- The professional transporter’s total cost was $5700.
Parents: Managing Your Emotions and Stress
Finding a secure location for a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder is a heavy burden for many families. Beds can be difficult to find and as Robin demonstrates, even harder to pay for.
Besides the financial difficulties, saying goodbye to your child in this way is full of heartbreak, grief, and loss. Yet parents have to make the tough decisions for what is best for their families and their child.
As I (Alyssa) have walked my own road of getting my son into residential treatment, plus worked as a family advocate with other families who navigate the process, I know the incredibly difficulty.
Robin and families like hers deserve our support, appreciation, and respect for doing all they can to parent these most challenging children.
More Out-of-Home Placement Options
There are different types of long-term treatment. Each one offers a unique type of care and is paid for in a specific way.
- Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) – This care is part of the services offered by the Department of Mental Health for the state where you live. Funding is typically provided by insurance, Medicaid, and the foster care system.
- Residential Treatment Center (RTC) – Residential Treatment Centers are typically funded by the court system and may be called Juvenile Detention (“Juvie”). A judge determines this placement and it’s paid for by the court.
- Group homes – Group homes are run by agencies and paid for by private or state funds. They have less supervision than a facility.
- Military schools – Army schools offer intense structure and supervision. Some take only boys and some are co-ed. Most are private pay.
- Wilderness programs – These are short-term, private-pay programs that give adventure experiences in nature in order to provide kids with rehabilitation and improve behavior issues.
More Resources for Parents of Kids with RAD
10 Shocking Truths about Residential Treatment that Every Parent Must Know
Medication for RAD: Which Medications Help Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder?
Can a Child Heal from RAD? Answers to Questions about Reactive Attachment Disorder
Children with Problematic Sexual Behaviors: A Parent Guide with Step-by-Step Help & Resources
Top 10 Treatments for Reactive Attachment Disorder
If you are seeking residential or therapeutic placement for your child and have additional questions, Robin has agreed that you can email her directly at [email protected]. Click here to contact us with residential treatment questions.
Are you considering sending your child to therapeutic boarding school? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Click here for a free PDF printable checklist of the 7 steps to take when your child needs residential treatment.
Our son is going to YOVA in a few weeks and we did not know about the additional costs. Thank you for posting. We know what questions to ask now.
Alyssa Carter says
I’m glad it’s a help and I hope and pray he has a good experience there. I have heard good things about their program.
We have heard good things as well and know several families that have their kids there as well. I was able to get more information about what you posted and it does vary, but the promise out weighs the price sometimes. We pray this is the right place to help our son currently and in the future.
You know they tortured and sexually abused kids at Tranquility Bay in Montego Bay, Jamaica, right? I knew someone who went there. It was a concentration camp. They beat people until they vomited and then made them eat their own vomit. And that they didn’t have to abide by US laws since it was, after all, not the US. They used to withhold people’s passports to make them stay even after they turned 18. I spent two years at a therapeutic boarding school myself. My parents thought it would be better for me than living with my violent, mentally ill brother who they refused to medicate. They may have been right about that – home wasn’t a safe place to be – but neither was where they sent me. I got to witness several occasions of staff sexually abusing kids, a group of boys anally raping another boy ( who later committed suicide by hanging himself in his closet), lots of bulemia, cutting, violent attacks with unexpected implements (ever seen someone get stabbed with a plastic knife and then watch the knife break off in their body?).
Hey, here’s a thought, parents: why not just hire someone to support your out of control teenager in your own home? Then you get help, your kid gets structure and an outside ally, and you get to see everything that happens to them. I can almost promise you that if you send your kid to a “therapeutic” boarding school, your relationship with them will erode. I never forgave my parents for sending me to when when they could have just handled my brother’s mental problems properly. I saw things at that school that no one should ever have to see.
I wish it were as simple as you make it seem to the parents. But we are not putting our “YOU” at the school, we are putting our “YOUR Brother” there for the safety of everyone that has contact with him. I am sorry that you think your parents handled the situation in a way that you did not agree with, but parents are tasked with keeping ALL of their kids safe and sometimes, we do not get it right. Mental, emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse is not easy to just “handle” as you put it. And not all schools are the same and there are some kids who do need and benefit from this environment. I am sorry for your experience at the school that you were at, but that does not mean that a therapeutic school is not right for another person. Especially when all other avenues have been explored or denied prior.
I am considering sending my daughter to TOVA but very nervous since it is out of the country. Have you talked with other parents to see if they have any success there? My daughter is currently in a wilderness program in the states and is doing very well however she won’t be able to return home due to the amount of work she has ahead of her and the therapist said to bring her home would just undo all of the work they have started. I would love to hear about anything you know about this school/program. My daughter is RAD.
Thank you 🙂
Alyssa Carter says
Hi Michele, I have not had a child personally attend there but I’ve heard really good things from parents. I would encourage you to call them and get more information to see if it’s the right fit for your family.
I am working there is a good school however I would encourage you as a parent to always have contact with your child on the phone no matter what and visit the site, don’t ever leave them somewhere you know little about visit ask questions, and believe your child when they are trying to tell you something don’t dismiss them because they are RAD.
overwise it is a good school with a good vision, look for ST Mary vision academy YOVA Jamaica.