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How to Choose a School for a Troubled Teen

by Tiffany Raiford, studioD

Sending your troubled teen to an alternative school, such as a boarding school, is a decision that will likely weigh heavily on your shoulders. The fact that you are even considering this means you’ve probably tried helping your teen using other methods without success, which is why it is so important that you take the time to choose the best school for your troubled teen. Alternative and boarding schools are options that you can discuss with your family; they are designed to help troubled teens get back on track when nothing else works.

Consider your financial situation when looking into schools for your troubled teen. In an article on the website Great Schools, journalist and author Katherine Ellison notes that the cost of boarding schools for troubled teens is expensive. Tuition for the kind of treatment and education your troubled teen will receive at one of these therapeutic schools can cost as much as $9,000 per month, making this an important factor in choosing the right school for your teen and your financial situation.

Research the programs offered by the schools on your list. According to Self Growth, many boarding schools offer programs for drug and alcohol treatment and other addictions. Depending on what kind of troubles your teen faces, he might need to go to a school that offers some kind of specialized treatment.

Make a list of different schools that fit your needs, your budget and your teen’s personality. Writing for Great Schools, Dave Marcus, a Newsday journalist and author, says a quick Internet search for boarding schools for troubled teens can yield results such as Strugglingteens.com, which lists boarding schools, programs offered and the school's qualifications.

Call and visit as many boarding schools as you can. While some look great on paper, you might decide that in reality it is not the best choice for your troubled teen. In fact, take your teen with you to visit these schools so that you can get an idea of how he feels for each particular school. This can be a major factor in considering where to send him. Seeing him interact with other students, the faculty and reviewing the location and academic curriculum can help you make an informed, educated decision. After all, this is the school you are counting on to help your teen work through his troubles.

Check to see if the school you are interested in for your teen is accredited. According to the Logan River Academy, you should look for accreditations by agencies such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Council on Accreditation, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities or the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, to name a few. Furthermore, you need to check to see that the faculty is properly licensed in accordance with your state’s regulations.

Note the success rate of the school that you are interested in, advises the Logan River Academy. For example, try looking on the school’s website for success stories from alumni as well as programs that offer you an idea of what follows once your teen has completed his coursework at the school. What looks like a great school with great resources and faculty might not be the best choice if the school’s success rate is dismal.

About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.

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