Serving families and adolescents with counseling, mission trip experiences and boarding school programs designed to help individuals succeed, families thrive and communities prosper.

Troubled Teens Residential Programs

Find Residential Programs for your Troubled Teen

Are you researching for residential programs for your troubled teen? Do you feel overwhelmed by the vast number available? We want to help. The very first step is to determine if your teen absolutely needs to be removed from the home. We believe that it is ideal for families to stay together so whenever possible, we recommend counseling as a first step. However if the warning signs your teen is exhibiting are putting themselves or your family at risk, it is time to begin researching temporary residential options.

The next step is to determine what type of residential programs are the best fit for your teen by deciding what level of care they currently require. This will help you start to narrow down your choices.

Residential Treatment Center

Residential treatment centers typically have a clinical/behavioral focus. When you hear of someone going to “rehab,” they are probably referring to a residential treatment center. These programs are sometimes lock-down facilities, meaning that the residents are locked inside the premises until their treatment is complete. This is one of the most extreme residential options available and is called a “Secure Residential.” It is typically suggested as an option when a teen is facing issues such as attempted suicide, extreme substance abuse, an eating disorder, attempted violence, or another issue that is putting their life or the lives of others around them at serious risk.

Residential treatment centers can also be unlocked facilities, meaning that residents can come and go from the facility under certain conditions and guidelines. Whether locked or unlocked, residential treatment centers usually provide constant supervision and medical intervention. They may provide specific services such as: intensive therapy, psychiatric evaluation by an on-site psychiatrist, staff trained to provide physical restraint, medical staff to administer psychiatric or other medication, highly structured phase or level system, and psychological testing.

Residential treatment programs often go by different names, depending on their capacity and length of stay. Different types of programs include:

  • Emergency Shelter Care: Residents stay in the program 60 days or less
  • Group Home: Only has 10 bed capacity or less
  • Child Care Institution: Has more than 10 bed capacity


It is common for a treatment center to have a specialized focus, with a comprehensive program to specifically address that one issue. For example, one RTC may specialize in treating eating disorders while another specializes in treating youth with sexually maladaptive behaviors. Many residential treatment centers specialize in drug or alcohol abuse treatment.

The most extreme type of residential treatment program is a psychiatric treatment program, or “Acute Care” program.

Residential Treatment Center vs. Therapeutic Boarding School

There are several basic differences between residential treatment centers and a therapeutic boarding school. While residential treatment centers have mostly a clinical and behavioral focus, therapeutic boarding schools have an added academic and relational focus. Treatment at a therapeutic boarding school is more holistic in nature, rather than being focused on just one issue a teen is facing. Subsequently, therapeutic boarding schools are recommended for teens facing a variety of behavioral and mental health issues that have not yet reached the point of being imminently life-threatening. A therapeutic boarding school usually provides a slightly less restrictive environment, while still providing much-needed structure and routine to a teen’s life.

Please note that our program is not affiliated with “New Horizons Youth Ministries”.


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