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Thursday, April 14, 2005



Hi. I'm writing an article about the "teen help industry" and want to make sure my numbers are correct. Can you please tell me your source for describing the indutry as "a $1 billion to $1.2 billion industry that serves 10,000 to 14,000 school-age children."
That would be very helpful, becase as you said, numbers are hard to come by.
Email me for more info about my project.


What I sent Sarah was this:

Hi Sarah,

I was quoting a story in the Chicago Tribune " Therapeutic education industry booms as parents seek help for kids." (Published in the Chicago Tribune 1/20/2004--Byline: Bonnie Miller Rubin")

"Even in a lackluster economy, business for therapeutic schools is booming. While exact numbers are hard to come by, a trade association and other experts say the schools are a $1 billion to $1.2 billion industry that serves 10,000 to 14,000 school-age children."

Here's another link for you referencing the article:

I have found a lot of information at Woodbury Reports:

Lon Woodbury's essay on why there is still a need for for-profit "struggling teen" programs

The "industry associations" are:

Independent Educational Consulting Association

National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs

National Association of Therapeutic Wilderness Camps

You may have run across ISAC

"Thank you for visiting, the new website of the International Survivors Action Committee (ISAC), a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization. We believe that every child deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Our mission is to expose abuse, civil rights violations, and fraud perpetuated through privately-owned facilities for juveniles."

The ISAC website is a goldmine of information.

Allison Lewis

Our son is at a therapeutic boarding school and plans to leave Sept. 30 when he turns 18. If he stays he would finish the program and high school in May 2006. We are not going to be supportive of him if he leaves and he knows that. Is there anyway we could make him stay even after turning 18?

vito masotti

I would like to know who ovresees (meaning
State regulations) the particular school, and what responsibility does each program assume if, in fact, a majority of the children resume bad behavior upon returning home? Is there recourse, assumng the tactics have failed?


Oversight: who has it?

This is a complicated area. Public schools are subject to state oversight; the entire world of private schools (religious schools, independent schools, for-profit schools) are a different kettle of fish. That's both good and bad.

States' oversight of non-state schools vary by state. There is also the issue of accreditation.

You may wish to inquire of

The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP)

was created in January of 1999 to serve as a national resource for programs and professionals assisting young people beleaguered by emotional and behavioral difficulties. This web site provides access to the NATSAP Directory, which informs professionals about the many alternatives available for troubled young people. Searching the directory will return each relevant program’s basic information, including contact sources.

shana Bayat

We are looking for therapeutic boarding school for our 12 yera old daughter in California. she in diagnosed with AdHd and oppositional defiant disorder.

Ricky Manis

I worked at a "theraputic" boarding school as a resident faculty member for two years. I found that this school would often tell parents in search of a school that this school was the solution to their problems with their children. The admissions director and head of school, however, would use this sales pitch on each and every family, whether the student had a history of poor academics or behavior problems or in contrast if the student had good grades and no behavior problems. The bottom line in looking for any boarding school should be this: these schools are busineses, expensive business. Be very weary of any school that seems to good to be true. Also, be very skeptical of any school that does not let you as a parent talk to students and faculty. If you are given only a heavily monitored "tour" of the school, without being able to speak with any students or faculty this should make you suspicious.
On the other hand, I have heard that my wife's boarding school, which I hold in very high regard, lets parents stay on campus overnight, eat with students and meet any faculty member they like. Openess of this kind is a sure sign that the school has nothing to hide and wants you as a parent to make the best decision.
I hope this helps parents searching for a school.
In Peace, Ricky Manis

Margaret Lewis

I have a 16 year old son in an Aspen theraputic boarding school. He has been there for a year and a half, which I was told initially was the average length of stay. He was doing extremely well until around the 15 month mark but then I was told he has had a complete reversal and they offered no explation. When I speak with him he seems to be fine and things they tell me which make no sense make no sense to him either. (This is hard to explain in an email). I have had several instances where his medical concerns were not dealt with in a timely manner and only after I repeatedly brought them to their attention. I am promised answers and communications which I do not receive although their policy is that a response will be provided within 48 hours. It has recently been brought to my attention that they may have lost their accreditation but I have not been able to verify this one way or another. I am obviously extremely upset about this situation and wonder how I can find other parents who may be experiencing similar problems with this school. They do not encourage interaction between parents on visits because they say this is supposed to be family time. Is that really the reason?

ANY responses would be much appreciated.

Survivor 1980

Margaret, one word; SCAM.

They'll tell you just about anything to keep your poor kid in school, and the money rolling in.


This is an ad for a teen boarding school placement firm. I've edited the URL so that it no longer functions

Reading from some experiences here, it's sad to know that the therapeutic boarding schools that most parents apply their child into did not gain the expectations that they were looking for. But in fairness to some, I'm sure they've also been helpful. Therapeutic boarding schools should be institutions for these troubled teens and an avenue for them to be more open to the people around them and not otherwise. Effective therapies may have been applied by good schools. These can be some therapies that therapeutic boarding schools may apply --

Therapeutic Boarding School

Liz here: this is an ad for a specific "therapeutic" boarding school. I have disabled the links. The story about Todd and what he had to struggle with is, in one word inspirational to anyone who has a teen that is struggling, I think that http://www.cedaridge DOT net/”>Therapeutic Boarding Schools are a wonderful idea and a way to help parents that have teens that need extra help but don’t know how to help them. I also think it is amazing that Todd’s parents would go out and pay $180,000 in tuition for him to go to school, that shows me that as parents we should stop at nothing to get our children the help they need.

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