If a parent contacts 10 different schools, they will more than likely receive 8 different answers as to how long a teen will need to stay in a program. Our belief is that the most effective programs are “at least” 12-18 months in length. It is important that there is no specific time frame expected. There have been troubled teens helped in 30 days that have never returned to their negative behaviors. On the flip side, there are teens that have spent 3 or even 4 years in a troubled teen school and still don’t get it. These are obviously extremes representing both ends of the spectrum.
The average program length is typically going to be 12-18 months. Admissions counselors on the phone may indicate that a teen can be helped in 60 or 90 days. The motivation of the admissions person may be something to consider. For example, many admissions companies will be paid only if they admit a teen into a boarding school.
This may create a situation where the admissions counselor’s truthfulness could be questioned. A more truthful way to approach a short program would be to explain that most studies show that longer term programs are most effective. Short term programs may help, and probably won’t hurt but they are typically not as effective as a long term program. This information may help parents determine if they are receiving truthful information from people they are talking to on the phone.
This is not to question that there are some programs that have had success with short term programs. As mentioned previously there are exceptions to every rule. The variety of personalities and chemical make ups unique to everyone, make a hard and fast rule difficult to establish. There are some schools that have had success with 30 day programs. Most Educational Consultants will recommend a long term follow up program to a short term program.