Government-Funded Residential Treatment Programs for Teens

Updated July 19, 2017

A variety of government-funded residential treatment programs available for teens offer everything from mental health treatment to drug abuse treatment and anger management. Selecting the right program can present a challenge, however. Evidence shows that not every program provides quality care and treatment. Do some integral homework to find a reliable treatment program.


A teen residential treatment program provides a structured group environment, housing teenagers who share the same or similar issues in a shared setting. Residents have the advantage of a combination of qualified professionals at their disposal. According to "Adolescent Health," all observations indicate that any team of experts entrusted with the care of young people in treatment can greatly benefit adolescents.


Residents must receive an individual evaluation to make sure the program can address their particular needs - especially in the case of drug-addicted teens who require specific programs for specific addictions. Standard features commonly offered at residential treatment programs include a staff of resident managers to supervise the facility, group therapy and the chance for teens to spend one-on-one time with qualified counselors and other professionals. Programs offer various levels of treatment. Some provide follow-up assistance after the teen has completed the program. In cases of substance abuse, these precautions can help reduce and prevent relapses.


Different types of residential treatment programs offer different features and benefits. Look for programs that allow for all teens to successfully complete their treatment and leave healthier and happier. Boot camps and similar type weight treatment programs concentrate attention on health, physical fitness and everyday life skills in addition to the diet strategies and concepts that make up a part of standard weight-control programs.


The Government Office of Accountability (GOA), a watchdog agency, provides information about incidents of abuse and mistreatment to teens in federally funded treatment programs. The GOA issued an October 2007 report detailing thousands of abuse cases resulting in injuries and even death in certain facilities. These episodes occurred nationwide between 1990 and 2007. The report paved the way for the passing of The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2008. Keep in mind that despite the number of quality government residential treatment programs, others fail to give adequate care.


Exposing harsh and abusive treatment in these government programs is a lofty cause. Organizations like CAICA (Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse) help supply the public with updates on related issues and legislation. Its aim is not to deter parents against using reputable and effective treatment programs. According to CAICA, its objective is to "...increase our resolve to reform programs and promote safety for all children and youth." Good government-funded residential treatment programs exist, though some poorly run programs give them all a bad name (Resource 2).

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About the Author

Charm Baker resides in California, where she earned a journalism degree and began writing well over fifteen years ago. She has worked as both a staff and freelance writer for publications such as: Los Angeles Trade Winds, LA Kids, Minority Advancement Profile, Business Training Schools, Inc. and