Therapeutic & Alternative Boarding Schools In California

Are you a California parent who is concerned about the direction your teenager’s life is heading? Does your teen make bad choices and behave so poorly that they have gotten in trouble in school or even with the law? It’s time to get your child the professional help they need in the form of therapy and a structured environment where they can take steps toward change. Help Your Teen Now is a parent advocate group dedicated to helping parents of troubled teens find out what is best for the family. Our insight into different teen help programs can help you decide what your teen needs and where to enroll them.Please call Help Your Teen Now at 1-800-901-7347 for more information on therapeutic and alternative boarding schools in California that may be right for your troubled teen.

Why Help Your Teen Now?

Help Your Teen Now was started by a teen help industry expert and mother who had worked with troubled teens for many years. She recognized that there was a significant lack of resources for parents when it came to identifying what type of programs were out there and which ones were successful as which ones were less than ideal. Help Your Teen Now was created by parents for parents, and our goal is to help you get the information you need to not only find the right place for your troubled teen, but to share the information we have about the entire process of working with teen help facilities.

Help Your Teen Now will answer all your questions via email or phone, and provide you with all kinds of information on therapeutic and alternative boarding schools in California and across the country. Because we aren’t affiliated with any program, you can feel comfortable that our advice and information is not biased. We want to help you through this difficult time and we’re sure that the teen help programs we have to share with you will be extremely useful. Let us help you so you can help your teenager.

Financial Assistance When Helping Your Adopted Teen In California

Parents can have an added layer of difficulty when it comes to parenting an adopted child. Even if you adopt your child when they were a baby, there can be difficulties.

California offers assistance for parents who have adopted children through the U.S. foster care system. You will have to meet the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) eligibility requirements to see if you can receive help from the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP). Some of the basic requirements are:

  • Child must be U.S. citizen
  • The child must have at least one barrier to their adoption (example – keeping sibling group together, older than 3 years old, professional assessment of disability)
  • Child was under the legal guardianship of the state
  • Child adopted through licensed California agency, either private or public agency.

These requirements are dependent on what county in California you live in, so be sure to check your counties’ AAP requirements. To learn more about financial assistance in placing your child into a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center, check out our resource page on “Financial Assistance With Adopted Children Placement In Therapeutic & Alternative Boarding Schools For California”.

Therapeutic & Alternative Boarding Schools In The State Of California

School Name
School Style

Wellspring Academy


Specialized Boarding School

Optimum Performance Institute


Young Adult Program

Newport Academy – Male


Residential Treatment Center

Newport Academy – Female


Residential Treatment Center

Newport Academy Day School


Transistional Independent Living

National Therapeutic Services


Residential Treatment Center

Family Life Center


Residential Treatment Center

Bridges to Recovery


Residential Treatment Center

Benchmark Transitions


Transitional Independent Living

California Regulatory Laws For Alternative & Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Residential facilities such as alternative and therapeutic boarding schools are licensed and regulated by the State of California Health and Human Services Agency, specifically the Department of Social Services. These social rehabilitation facilities are subject to both general licensing requirements and function-specific standards.

Accreditation for California private schools is optional and there are no requirements for licensing. Registration with the Superintendent of Public Instruction is mandatory, however (Calif. Educ. Code §33190). Teachers are only required to be “persons capable of teaching” and state certification is optional (Calif. Educ. Code §48222). Schools must teach in English (Calif. Educ. Code §§48222, 30) and must perform criminal background checks on all employees (Calif. Educ. Code §44237(a), (b), (c).

(U.S. Department of Education, State Regulation of Private Schools, 2009)

Statistics for Troubled Teens In California



6.2 percent of children between 4 and 17 diagnosed per year
(2007 study, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007 Study).



Pregnancy rates for adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 in California were between 30.7 and 39.0 per 1,000 women
(Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2009 Study).



California ranks 45th in the nation for suicide in individuals age 15-24. In 2010, there were 440 deaths with a crude rate of 7.9.
(CDC’s WISQARS website “Fatal Injury Reports, 2010”;)



Approximately 10.9 percent of adolescents in California, age 12-17, experiment with illicit drugs monthly. Just over 7.6% regularly use marijuana and 5.4 percent use other types of illicit drugs. Around 15.7% of California teens used alcohol in the past month, while 9.8% engaged in binge drinking.
(State Report, 2009, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.)



In 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice reported the following juvenile arrest rates for California: 414 arrests for violent crime, 1,153 arrests for property crime, 523 arrests for drug abuse and 196 arrests for weapons violations.
(Washington, DC: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2009).



California had a 76 percent statewide high school graduation rate for the 2010-2011 school year.
(U.S. Department of Education, Graduation Rates 2010-2011)

State Summary

Let HelpYourTeenNow Help You Find the Best California School For Your Teen

A therapeutic boarding school is a fine place for teens with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues to get full-time therapy, help in school and boost self-esteem. Help Your Teen Now has already helped thousands of parents and teens, and we want to do the same for your family.

Please contact Help Your Teen Now for more information on what we can do for you as a parent of a troubled teen. Just call 1-800-901-747.

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