Free boot camp programs for teens

Updated November 21, 2016

If your teen is troubled, getting involved with gang activity, abusing drugs or alcohol, is physically or mentally abusive or ditching school, boot camp might seem like your only option. Many programs for at-risk and troubled teens are privately owned and cost a parent money. State-funded boot camps are available and free to the parent, but only if your child is already in trouble with the legal system. Some private boot camps or programs allow parents to set up payment plans. Alternatives to boot camps also cost the parent money but might have more favourable options include boarding schools and residential treatment centres.

State-Funded Boot Camps

Teens who qualify for these camps are usually already in trouble within the juvenile court system and most often are court-ordered to attend a boot camp. State-funded boot camps are known to be similar to jails and prisons. Government-funded boot camps are extreme correctional facilities run like the military. Often, teens are subjected to hard, physical labour and are treated like a prisoner.

Private Boot Camps

Private boot camps can run from £2,275-$10,000 for a 30-day stay. Some camps allow you to pay in instalments as low as £260 if you have good credit. These boot camps are also run in a military manner.

Other Options for Troubled Teens

Boarding schools and residential treatment centres might be an option for your troubled teen. In fact, you might be able to charge some or all of the cost for these programs to your insurance company. Teen boarding schools offer a structured environment that helps teens make good, healthy choices and allows them to continue their high school education simultaneously. They often produce positive results because teens are given the tools they need to control negative behaviours, and they receive therapeutic counselling. Residential treatment programs address teen issues such as drug and alcohol use, eating disorders, and behaviour problems. They teach a teen coping skills, life skills, and social skills. They offer substance-abuse counselling and the necessary structure to change negative behaviours.

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About the Author

Melissa Gagnon began writing professionally in 2010. Her expertise in education, research and literature allows her to write knowledgeably for various websites. Gagnon graduated from Gordon College with a Bachelor of Science in English and education. She then attended Salem State College and completed a master's degree in teaching English as a second language.