Does Cost Impact the Quality of Troubled Teen Programs?

Many factors come to mind when considering a treatment program for your teenager. From location and specialty to care provided and length of the program, it’s vital to consider all the finite details before making a final selection on a behavioral school, military program, or residential treatment facility for your child. 

Is there a Bad Kids School?

On top of all of those essential details, another factor is just as important – and that is cost. After all, do these programs essentially give you what you’re paying for in terms of overall pricing? Does the bad kids school cost more than it should? If you end up paying more for one program or school, does that mean a less costly version isn’t just as good? 

Thankfully, the answer is a resounding “no.” Just because one school or facility is priced differently than another doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better or worse. Several different factors play into how much a treatment program costs, and parents and caregivers rarely get to see the differences from outside the scope of the business. 

For starters, not all of the programs are accredited; this can make a difference in the price tag, as can how the school or treatment program is actually funded. The length of the program is also something to consider (ranging from weeks or months at a time up to a year or more). Factors like how many teenagers are in a class, how often they meet and do group activities, courses that are offered, and the general location all play a role in how much a treatment program will cost caregivers in the long run.

Cost of Programs for Troubled Teens

Based on information from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University, insurance will most likely not cover any part of your teenager attending a treatment program. But, in most cases, costs will average $6,000 a month or more. And amazingly, residential school costs might not be any cheaper just because you live down the road from the school. 

Let’s compare and contrast military schools versus residential treatment schools. While many treatment programs for teenagers come with a hefty cost, the military school cost is often much less, depending on the state and whether you are eligible for in-state or out-of-state tuition. For example, The Soldier’s Project notes that programs such as the US Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut, the US Air Force Academy in Colorado, the Chicago Military Academy in Illinois, and the US Naval Academy in Maryland are all tuition free. On the other hand, the Maine Maritime Academy’s in-state tuition is $11,250 (and out-of-state $26,170), the New York Military Academy is $34,850 for day cadets ($46,250 for boarding cadets), and Wisconsin’s St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy is $45,000 for 7-day boarding. 

Suppose you are leaning toward military school as a possible outlet for your teen. In that case, you will need to look at your specific state (or whatever state school you want to attend) in order to determine any tuition rates, loan information, and information regarding financial assistance. But, again, one costly school doesn’t necessarily mean that the program will be any better than a tuition-free school – it just comes down to how the program is funded. 

According to information from The Envoy Group, costs also can be affected by the length of the treatment program chosen. For example, a program lasting between 4-12 weeks can be upwards of $12,000 a month, while a residential program that cares for your child anywhere from a year or more could be upwards of $3,500 a month. Does this mean that the longer programs aren’t as high quality? Absolutely not – you have to keep in mind that they provide care, food, shelter, and treatment for your teenager every day. You also have to consider the education of the specialists that run these programs; some might have Master’s degrees and specific education that makes them more suited to your child’s specific needs, or there might be more staff available to give the participants more dedicated attention. 

When selecting a behavioral school, military school, or residential treatment facility, it’s essential to know what your child will receive in terms of treatment, schooling, and necessary care. Research the information available at your prospective school, and learn about their mission statement and how they expect to impact your child’s life positively. If you still have questions, check out the information at Help Your Teen Now; from there, you can dive into the nitty gritty of cost breakdown and the overall quality of a treatment program. While some bad kids schools are more expensive than others, keep in mind that price doesn’t always equal quality!

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