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When you are a parent, you are bound to come across some children who have behavioral challenges. Children who have gone through traumatizing experiences are usually carrying a lot of anger, sadness, and even guilt. Unable to handle these strong emotions, they may act out. Children who have lived in homes where adults yelled or threw things may imitate that behavior when they are upset. As a parent, you will have the opportunity to go through education and training on how to handle these situations and how to help children learn to work through their emotions safely. Therapy and other services can also help.

But what happens when nothing you do, and none of the services provided for the child, are enough? This is when residential treatment becomes an option.

What are Residential Treatment Centers?

A residential treatment center is a secure environment where a child or teen can receive intensive therapy, Youths live at the center full time, and therapeutic services are available to them 24/7. Depending on their individual needs, they may receive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, family therapy, exposure therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, anxiety management and relaxation skills therapy, music therapy, and biofeedback. They also receive schooling while they are there. The goal for children in residential treatment is to return to their home or foster care placement, whenever possible.

Is Residential Treatment Only For Children In Foster Care?

No. Children who are still in the custody of their birth families may also need residential treatment.

Signs That a Child May Need Residential Treatment

The main reason that a child may need residential treatment is that they are a danger to themselves or others. This may mean that they hurt themselves, that they are violent towards others and cannot be deescalated by adults in their home, or that they put themselves in dangerous situations such as using drugs or alcohol or running away from home.

How Old Must A Child Be To Benefit From Residential Treatment?

Pathway Family Services Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility accepts children as young as six years old. Some centers accept children as young as four years old.

Will Residential Treatment Centers “Cure” The Child?

While residential treatment can help children learn the skills they need to safely cope with their strong emotions, leaving a treatment center after being there for a while can be difficult. Children will need continued therapeutic support to help them practice applying the skills they learned, in the “real world.”

Where Can I Find A Residential Treatment Center?

Foster parents can discuss residential treatment with their children’s case managers, who will have local resources. Those near Topeka, Kansas may look into Pathway Family Services’ Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility. Please contact us to learn more.