Check Local Resources
Parents contemplating sending their teen away to a boot camp or boarding school should always visit the potential placement option prior to enrolling their son or daughter there. The importance of visiting a program prior to placement can not be emphasized enough. This will give parents the opportunity to meet the staff that work with the kids. Parents should sample the food, check,out the sleeping arrangements, and speak directly with the teens enrolled in the program. Parents will know if the teens answers to their questions are sincere or manipulated. The potential program should have an open door policy. This means that parents, can visit at any time, and that they can come unannounced. This practice may be a good indicator that the program doesn’t have anything to hide. However, just because a program has an open door policy doesn’t give it a green light or mean that it is perfect. Parents should visit with the state and local authorities that regulate the program they are interested in. Local Police departments may also prove to be a good source of information as well. If the police are regularly called into the program there may be unseen problems brewing.
Program references can also be a good source of information for parents to explore. Keep in mind however, that programs will only give references to parents that have had a good experience and positive things to say about them. This is not underhanded or shady in anyway, just the way business is typically done. In some cases the people that have negative things to say are people that owe the program money, or people that didn’t follow the recommendations of the program. Some may even go so far as to create websites casting a negative light on a school or program. These is definitely worth investigating, and should be a topic of discussion with the potential placement. Some parent referrals may also be tied to a referral fee. Some programs pay people for sending students to their schools. This is not terrible but should be taken into consideration when speaking with the referral. The more parent referrals a program has the better it may be. It would be a good idea to talk to parents that were having the same type of problems you are currently having with your teen. It is also a good idea to talk to parents that have their children home from the program now. The proof of the program is what the teen does when they return home. Most every student in every program eventually does well while they are there. It isn’t until they have freedom that they will make mistakes. It is inevitable for teens to make mistakes when they return home. Every teen in America makes mistakes. The true indicator of success for the teen will be how they correct themselves and get back on track after the mistake is made. There is no such thing as a perfect teen. Parents who expect this type of program success are expecting the impossible, and will surely be disappointed with any program they choose. Unrealistic expectations can be problematic when trying to find a program for your teen.
Selecting a Placement for a Troubled Teen
Following a systematic approach to selecting a school for a troubled teen could make the difficult process a little easier. Parents struggling to find help for their defiant out of control teen may find this series helpful.
It has been said that a program boot camp or boarding school is only as good as it’s weakest link. This being said, a parent should spend enough time at a potential placement option to meet the majority, if not all, of the people that will be working with their child. Programs should do an exhaustive search surrounding staff to determine any potential problems the person may have had previously. This back ground search should also be accompanied by personal references. This still doesn’t assure that a staff with problems may not be hired. Parents who meet the people employed by the program will get a “feel” for the overall dynamics of the program staff.
Search the Internet
A basic search by name of the school being considered will provide some helpful results. There are a couple of sites that are dedicated to closure of every type of school that is designed to help troubled teens. We won’t name them as they have their agenda’s that are easy to spot by the vitriol and contempt for any placement option. It is important to note that they provide only one side to every story. The side they portray is that “every” placement option is evil. This is evident by their refusal to recommend any programs, and their “one sided” approach to bashing all schools and camps. Take what they have to say with a grain of salt. The allegations they make have made it difficult for many parents to place their children in any program. The sad fact is that many children who never receive help could have been helped. Instead, parents continue being abused by the teen, the teen continues using drugs, and in some cases the teen ends up much worse off than they would have been had they entered some type of structured program. If a program appears to be reputable and checks out in every other way except the negative websites mentioned, contact the program and ask to hear their side of the story, and allegations on the Internet.
Sensationalism in Reporting
One school hit by the negative site campaign reports that the articles relayed on these sites are based on articles from other sources. The information obtained is not based on facts, but on the opinions of reporters that may have an alternative agenda. Some small town news organizations lacking substantive material to report, rely instead on what their personal perception is. This type of reporting while damaging to the person or industry isolated depends on sensationalism and innuendos. The person harmed the most may be the parent desperately seeking help. Scared by the hyped up information, and terrified to send their child away in the first place, the parent becomes frozen in their decision making process. Because of the plethora of programs and options available to parents, they may choose to discount a program based on false or partially true information. This adds credence to the fact that parents interested in a program should visit the program to make sure it is what it says it is.