• Can My Teen Walk Out When He Turns 17?
Many states have given the teens the option to withdraw themselves from a therapeutic program at 17, without parents acknowledgment or authority. However, in the state of Florida a teen is a minor until the age of 18 (or up to age 21 in some circumstances).
• How Quickly May I Enroll My Teen?
The minimum is 72 hours, sooner if medicals are within 6 weeks and other documentation is available.
• What is the Duration and/or Mandatory Commitment of the Program?
Each student is unique and his program duration will depend on her ability to apply the concepts and principals in her interaction with her peers within the program. His public display and the progress of the family will be taken into high consideration. 15 months is the normal length of stay. Students with lower maturity level may require a longer length of stay while students that are more mature seem to grasp quicker and excel through the program at a faster pace.
• Why is the program for Boys Only?
By eliminating the distractions of girls, we will have put a tremendous block on peer pressure. When girls are not around, boys seem more free to share, less concerned about being the popular one, less concerned about how they appear and less prone to get into fights over girls.
• How Do I Get My Son to The Boys Ranch?
Once you let your son know, the next step is getting him here. You can travel with your son and bring him to Florida. However, if the idea of change intimidates your son, he may react to your choice by increasing the level of hostility in the family. If this occurs you may want to consider hiring a youth transport & escort service to come to your residence and escort him to the program. If this is your only alternative, we can suggest one that we have had good success with. Good youth transport services are often made up of Christian parents just like you who have had a teen in a similar program. If your teen has run away, some transport services also specialize in searching for and rescuing teens from runaway situations.
• How Do I Tell My Son About My Decision?
We’ll help you with this aspect, but here are some general guidelines. In most cases, it is better to tell them your decision than to involve them in it. As you begin to prepare for breaking the news of the final details to your teen, you should rely on us to help devise a strategy. No one can predict your teen’s reaction. Some teens are willing to accept the reality (they see that they need a change), but other teens will become completely defiant and will fight for control of your decision (manipulate you to change your decision with threats). Your actions should be sure and deliberate. Your teen needs to know that your decision is final. Do not do this without some help and our guidance. Do not give a lot of advance warning, for that will only give your boy time to devise plans of his own.
Look at the big picture. Keep in mind that there will be a time of healing in the near future. Regardless of their reaction, remember that you do not need your teen’s approval to make the decision. It is a decision you made so your family can heal, and you are not giving up on your teen. If you don’t have any outside professional help, you may want to try a “Wake-up Call” (some call it an “Intervention”). It involves gathering a collection of people that your child has placed his trust in (youth pastor, an aunt, grandparents, uncle or a teacher) who will care enough to sit down with you and your child and confront him. During this intervention, the group should express their concern and compassion for your child, discuss what you have decided (not giving him options at this point) and that his actions and road to self-destruction are what led you to make that decision.
• Is this a Registered and Recognized Non-Public School in the State of Florida?
Yes, our school is registered as a non-public school. All school credits earned are fully transferable to other high schools, boarding schools, colleges and universities.
• How Much School Work Will He Do?
Although we do facilitate a state-registered school, most young men who enter the program need to concentrate and confront their emotional behavior and thinking before academics will appear more appealing to them. Our academy provides a computer-based award-winning curriculum that is second to none. We supplement that with our own teachers and provide tutoring as needed. Recent government studies suggest that computer-based education provides better learning and recall than classroom education, and many public schools are moving toward it as well. Our goal is to bring your son to one complete grade level in all subjects across the board in the first year, but he can also work ahead (most students do). Once a resident’s thinking is cleared up, we find that they want to succeed in school and their grades and motivation improve tremendously.
• What is Your Success Rate?
University studies and national surveys concluded that the Teen Challenge success rate for the last 30 years has been 86% for residents who graduate (less for those who are taken out early). In other words, nearly 9 out of 10 residents have a lifelong change in behavior toward more positive thinking and motivations. We are happy to provide names and numbers of parents who have recently had a teen in our program.
• Can My Teen Run Away?
We have had few instances of boys running away, since we have taken every precaution. Every window and door with outside access is secured with a monitored alarm system to discourage runaways and any head starts. Our staff and peer leaders are always on lookout for runaway potential, especially in the first few weeks of a new resident’s stay. New residents are not allowed to go anywhere on campus without an escort, and are not allowed off-campus visits until we are assured that they are not considering running away.
• How Can I Contact My Son in an Emergency?
Our Program Manager will provide you with the appropriate addresses, phone numbers and emails so you can contact us immediately in case of an emergency. It is up to you and the administration of The Boys Ranch to conclude whether your son is stable enough to encounter the emergency at home.
• What About Phone Reports?
You are welcome and encouraged to call our office any time with any concerns or questions. We ask that you contact your son once a week through letters and/or cards. Thoughtful responses and non-judgmental feedback can be achieved through the careful annotation of your words. Topics for your son’s letters and phone calls will be derived from issues he has exposed with the help of her therapist and also with the curriculum. We encourage your son to write back to every letter that comes from the immediate family on his family-approved correspondence list. PLEASE NOTE: Writing is a form of communication we use to build broken relationships with parents and immediate family members. Mail is best NOT used for keeping up-to-date on current events.
• Doctor Visits
Prior to a doctor visit, all initial request are called in to parents to inform them of visitation. Calls from the doctor’s office may be necessary to ensure an accurate history to the physician. After your son’s appointment you will receive a follow-up phone call.
• My Son is Currently Taking Medication. Will He be Able to Continue?
We allow and administer medicine prescribe by your son’s physician, but mood-altering medications (psychotropic) will gradually been weened from your child, in accordance with the prescribing doctor. Other required over-the-counter medicines are allowed as needed and as administered by our staff.
• How is Misbehavior Handled?
All correction is done in an orderly and respectful manner. Our staff is trained in positively addressing negative behavior. We do not use negative punishment (food deprivation, sleep deprivation, corporal punishment, scare tactics or a point system). Privileges may be taken away for a time or chores added. Our goal is to help your son see and tear down his own self-destructive and distorted patterns of thinking and behaviors.
• What Does He Need to Bring?
A list will be provided of basic necessities, upon acceptance.
• How Often Can I Communicate with My Son?
After the first two weeks of self-evaluation, students are encouraged to write to whomever parents authorize on their correspondence list once a week. This correspondence list will comprise of immediate family members (grandparents, parents, siblings) for the first ten months. As your son progresses through the program, the mailing list may increase with additional approved role models. Bi-weekly phone calls are allowed and encouraged after a two week break at the beginning. Bi-weekly phone calls, 10 minutes in duration, are scheduled in advance by staff, so family members can be present. Since much can be learned in regard to a resident’s progress by their interactions with parents on the phone, these phone calls may be monitored and evaluated.
• How Soon May I Visit My Son?
On-campus visits, called Parent Weekends, begin after four full months. They are on the third full weekend of every other month and they start Saturday and end Sunday morning. The Parent Weekend is also a time for parents to receive instruction from our staff. All home visits require the approval of Academy Directors.
• What is the Required Commitment Level of the Participating Parents?
The Boys Ranch is a program for the whole family. A pivotal and critical aspect of the program is the mandatory participation of parents at certain times. Parents are expected to participate in family therapy sessions, program curriculum, and attend several Parent Weekends. A student’s success is dependent on the parent’s willingness to support the therapeutic process of the program.
• Is Physical Activity a Requirement?
Yes! Teens today are finding ways to entertain themselves in such a passive manner and rarely take any time to give their bodies the proper form of daily exercise. Student are required to participate in physical activity. Aerobics, sports, weights, are but a few categories we use to increase the intent of maintaining a lifetime approach to conditioning and fitness long after he has graduated.
• Are Any Scholarships and/or Financial Assistance Programs Available?
Caring for a troubled teenager 24/7 and providing an education and housing is a costly venture. At this present time there are no scholarships available, other than the fact that our tuition is already about one third the cost of the national average for therapeutic programs, so in essence we are already providing scholarships to every resident. Even so there are financial institutions available that have helped our parents in the past. We can provide you with that information. Since we are a part of Teen Challenge, donations help ensure our tuition is kept low.
• Must I Enroll My Boy on a Specific Date?
No, enrollment is year-round.