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Residential Treatment Facilities provide a vast range of services for troubled youth such as; drug and alcohol treatment, discipline, counseling, basic living skills, structure, and so much more. These Residential Treatment Centers also provide organization skills that training schools provide as well and they are; obedience/conformity, reeducation/development, and treatment. These are three very important factors in a juvenile’s recovery and success. Most of the time when a child turns to crime/drugs it is a cry for help, but no one around them seems to hear until it is too late.

This doesn’t mean give up on them it means try harder to assist them to better themselves before they become another statistic. Residential Treatment Programs started in the 1940’s by the early 1970’s the National Institute of Mental Health surveyed that there were 261 Residential Treatment programs. (Magellan) Over the years it became more common for troubled youth to go to Residential Treatment Centers as an alternative to jail/detention center. In the 80’s the number of children in Residential Treatment Facilities was 125,000 by 2000 it had increased to a quarter million.

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In Magellan Health Services, Inc. the research shows the reported returning to placement after one year was 32%, 53% after 2years and 59% by end of the 3rd year. This was due to lack of services, poverty, lack of community programs and lack of community support. Here are some very important key steps for success in and out of treatment; family involvement, aftercare, discharge planning, community services, and community support. (Magellan) According to David Gotteman and Suzan Wile Schwartz in the article Juvenile Justice in the U. S. tates “that residential treatment centers do not work and make things worse not better in some cases”, they state that “residential facilities are ineffective at providing services for troubled youth. David say’s that this causes high recidivism rates because the young adults aren’t getting proper treatment because of poverty, and lack of services in these poverty stricken areas. David expressed the importance of knowing these adolescents mental state prior to placing them into care. By doing mental health evaluations it allows the troubled youth to receive the proper rehabilitation and treatment. (NCCP)

The house that I was in had treatment modalities that had to be met before release like; mental health counseling, drug and alcohol treatment, behavioral record, school/work. These were all goals that had to be met for release if they were not met the staff could keep you in the facility longer. When I was a child I kept running away, I continuously told them about the abuse that was taking place in my home and they still placed me back in my parents care. Needless to say it took a little more delinquency to wake me up and make me see there was more to life than what was in front of me at that point.

I was 17 when I was placed in a long term Residential Treatment Center where I received obedience/conformity, reeducation/development, and treatment. Not only that I learned to love me, respect me/others, to forgive, acceptance and to me that is where change begins, within not without. Consequently poverty makes it very hard for some of these children, but not impossible, by all means. There are quite a few people that graduated from the same house I did and are successful adults today.

Poverty is an excuse to not do better, there is plenty of places around that these young adults can go too such as; YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brother Big Sisters and so many more that can assist with troubled youth. Consequently these juveniles fall through the cracks because the adults in their lives truly don’t care and don’t support them in positive advancement for whatever reason. This program would be more successful if there was a lower case load in each house so that there could be more one-on-one treatment for these young adults that are lacking the support at home.

There would be more staff interaction with parents during/after, outlets for assistance would be provided, community programs, how to get to them, and most of all focus on each individual juvenile as one not as a group. This program could be successful if the treatment modality is set in place with no deterrence from that pattern. This program does work, if you work it, just like anything in life there is “no progress, without struggle”, (unknown) These young adults need goals first short term then long term.

When a young adult feels what it is like to succeed they will want to do more in their life the right way, good always out ways bad in the end, just got to work at it this includes; family, staff, community, juvenile etc.. When treating children everyone has to be involved because if a child feels that he is an outcast that is what he will be. Parents are a big part of a child’s habilitation and most of the time parents need the assistance as well since they are only doing what their parents did and it worked for them. Unfortunately the new generation isn’t the same as the old.

Living in single family homes with mother’s who work 12-16 hours days to put food and a roof over their heads makes it hard for children to get the attention they need and this makes the recidivism rates high. I feel that if these changes are made than the recidivism rate should lower and this program would be a much better alternative to jail. On the other hand incarceration for juveniles to me is far worse than a treatment center. I say this because in prison there is very few programs that rehabilitate a person they are more focused on punishment.

Where in treatment programs they are focused on rehabilitation/habilitation and some of these youths need that kind of treatment. This is not true for all juveniles and it makes it hard to place these troubled young adults. Not all juvenile offenders should be placed in treatment centers; some should be placed in Job Core, Boot Camps and Detention Centers because the hope has already been lost leaving them with tougher sentencing. It all depends on the child and their history criminal/family, this says a lot about a person and where they are mentally/emotionally is also a big part of recovery.

In conclusion I am a success story and in that I will assist these children to see a better future. Living in a treatment center taught me a great deal about the other children which opened my heart and gave me something to shoot for. It only takes one story that another can relate to that could change your life forever. There is always someone out there worse off than you at that point in your life, so in my opinion this can only be done by people like me who was taught by “The Hard Knocks of Life”. While I was in recovery I started writing a book about my life and still am writing just so I could save just one child from the life I lived.

I learned to set goals I’d complete one then move to the next the goals were to short so I made a 5year and 10year goal. My 5year goal was to celebrate my 10 years in recovery; I made this goal because my recovery comes first in everything that I do. My 10 year goal was to continue my education and become a Substance Abuse Counselor for Adolescents, since being in school I have made another goal and that is to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. These treatment centers do work if the treatment modalities are in place and followed.

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