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Residential Behavioral Treatment Programs for Kids Near DC

by Jane Rodda, studioD

Often the best solution for teens who are struggling is to place them in a residential program. With a population close to 6 million, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area is home to a few options for residential care. Each program is a bit different catering to specific behavioral issues. Choosing the right one will depend on what the particular needs are of your child.

The Sasha Bruce Youthwork: REACH

The Sasha Bruce Youthwork (sashabruce.org) is an organization committed to meeting the needs of at-risk youth. One of its many programs is REACH, the Residential Empowerment Adolescent Community Home. REACH takes in teens that are in the custody of or referred by the juvenile justice system, offering a highly structured, service-oriented, home for teens 13- to 18-years-old. The typical length of stay for an individual is 30 days. While there, the teens participate in group, individual and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, life skills development and educational remediation.

The Psychiatric Institute of Washington

For children and adolescents whose behavioral problems are related to a mental illness, The Psychiatric Institute of Washington (psychinstitute.com) provides residential care. It serves children 5- to 12-years-old in a separate wing. The children are involved in a behavioral level system based on points. The staff gives each patient certain goals and measure and discuss their progress each day. The program for 13- to 17-year-olds provides onsite psychiatrists who evaluate and educate students in behavioral modification. Both programs provide a year round school for all grade levels in order to meet educational needs while a resident at the center.


Located 18 miles to the west of downtown D.C. in Great Falls, Virginia is Sagebrush (sagebrushva.com). This facility specializes in substance abuse treatment for adolescents in a residential program. It features a holistic philosophy of treatment combining the traditional 12-step model with delving into the root cause of addiction for each patient. The setting at Sagebrush is scenic, and it provides a nonjudgmental approach to recovering mentally, spiritually and physically. It boasts a private and individualized experience for each teen.

Phoenix House

The Phoenix House (phoenixhouse.org) is another substance abuse treatment program that has a more traditional approach than that of Sagebrush. With a location five miles west of downtown D.C. in Arlington, Virginia, the Phoenix House provides adolescents with a residential recovery program. The program is gender-specific using a 12-step approach, guiding teens through the process of discovering mental health issues and behavioral patterns associated with substance abuse. Families are encouraged to be a part of the healing process, and the length of stay depends on each individual case.

About the Author

Jane Rodda has been a writer since 2004, with articles featured in "Gameday Magazine" and "Urban Family Magazine." She is also the social media director and lead copywriter for a piano instruction website. Rodda holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with a concentration in psychology from Point Loma Nazarene University.

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