by Kristie Campbell

How do parents decide when the time is right for a residential placement?

When nothing else works and all other options are exhausted. Most of our clients have already tried everything they can think of, including counseling, local programs, and/or school interventions, but none of them worked. Parents often see the world of residential placement as a very confusing and different world from the one they inhabit. Our jobs as independent educational consultants is to help these parents through a complicated maze of conflicting claims and information, and help them decide the best direction for their family. We help them to focus on realistic expectations and decide if the critical decision of residential placement is a necessity. Based on our many years of personal experience, ongoing networking with other professional consultants and our annual survey, we advise parents on which programs are best for their child.

How should parents compare different schools and programs?

Nothing is more important in making comparisons than good advice from other parents, educational consultants and other professionals. A parent should add to that their own common sense and personal experience with organizations and businesses by evaluating the school or program in important areas which include financial stability, if they have a clearly defined philosophy, and has strong leadership. When working with a parent, we draw on our many years of personal experience in working for and with schools and programs for struggling teens. Our consultants at Therapeutic Placement Solutions have access to the vast volumes of information flowing into our office for publication our website. Our ability to provide a quality service to the parents we serve is increased exponentially by the informal feedback we receive daily from hundreds of consultants and the staff at numerous schools and programs. The parents who use us as their consultants tap into this wealth of information.

How do parents ensure that a prospective program is a proper “fit” for their child?

This is the most important question a parent can ask. Even if a school or program offers the highest quality of care; if it does not fit the unique needs of that particular child, the program may not return the child the parents are hoping to see. When parents choose what appears to be the best school or program without the expertise offered by a consultant, the enrollment often results in failure because it does not fit their child’s specific needs. In our consultations, we gather as much information as we can from the parents and child professionals who have worked with the child. This information gives us a clear picture of the strengths, interests, problems and individual needs of the child. We compare this information with the knowledge we have gathered over the years from comments and surveys of several quality schools and programs, and suggest those that would best match the child’s and parent’s needs.

Does a short-term or long-term program best fit the needs of your child?

This really depends on what your child needs. If your child’s behaviors have not been evident for a long period of time or is not too severe, a short-term program might fit their needs. However, even a short-term program must include a sensible long-term plan. By the time parents come to the realization that residential placement might be necessary, the problems are often long-lasting, and it takes a long-term program for their child to learn new thinking patterns. A short-term program is often used to assess the child’s needs and used as a preliminary step to determine if the child requires a long-term intervention.

What program is most likely to help your child?

The one that understands your child’s needs, and specializes in working with children who have similar problems. Anything else, such as upscale appearance, success in helping a friend’s child, or general reputation might lead to a decision that will lose valuable time. Our role is to work with you, the parent, as a partner to understand your child’s needs and identify the best possible match for your entire family. We guide parents through the complex maze of programs and help you find the success your son or daughter deserves.