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Questions to Ask Schools

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General Information (below is more detailed):

  • Is the facility licensed?
  • How many years has the school/program been in operation?
  • Are there extra fees over the tuition?
  • What is the average stay? Is there aftercare?
  • What is their success rate? Do they have a guaranty? (Most cannot give an accurate success rate since families are all very unique with different circumstances).
  • If my child turns 18, can they stay if they are willing to?
  • Do they offer open enrollment? 
  • What are the average age and how many students are in the school?
  • If it is coed, are they kept separate? How?
  • What form of discipline is used? What are their consequences?
  • Is their staff qualified for their position with the school? Do they do background checks on their staff prior employment?

Staff:

  • Who is the Director and what are their credentials and background?
  • Can you speak with the Director personally?
  • Is their staff qualified for their position with the school? Do they do background checks on their staff prior employment?
  • Does the staff participate in continuing education?
  • Does the program employ a full time psychologist or licensed clinical social worker?

Educational:

  • Is the academics accredited? Through what organization?
  • Will their transcripts be accepted at their local school?
  • Are the teachers credentialed? What is their experience?
  • Do they offer special education or help with learning disabilities?
  • Are SAT, ACT or other college placement tests available at the school?
  • What is their extra curriculum? Do they offer music, sports, arts, etc?
  • Do they offer vocational courses or college courses?
  • Are there extra fees for special classes?

Medical and Therapy:

  • Is therapy offered and is it included in the tuition?
  • If not, what is the fee and will my insurance cover it?
  • Where is the nearest hospital to the facility?
  • Is there a doctor or nurse on staff? If not, how often do they visit?
  • Do they accept children on medication? Do they believe in medication?

Behavior:

  • Will they keep a child that doesn't want to attend?
  • Do they accept children that are escorted?
  • Can the child be expelled? If so, what must they do to get expelled?
  • Do they accept teens that are extremely aggressive?
  • Do they accept Court Appointed teens?
  • Do they accept teens with criminal records?
  • What types of children are accepted into the school?
  • What are the consequences for children that become out of control?

Financial and Legal:

  • What is the tuition? What does it include?
  • Do they offer educational loans?
  • Do they offer scholarships?
  • What is the termination policy? If you decide to remove your child prior the completion of the contract, are there penalties?
  • Should an attorney review the contract for you?
  • Is there a discount if you pre-pay tuition in full?
  • Do they accept I.E.P.'s?
  • Do they accept medical insurance? Will they file for you?
  • If your child is 17+ years old, can they legally sign themselves out of a program? In certain states, this is allowed. 
  • Most contracts will give the school/program temporary custody of your child. This is in the event that they need to have medical treatment for him/her, or if a child runs away, gets picked up by authorities for whatever reason, they will only release a child to a custodial or guardian. Most contracts will also state that this in no way supersedes or replaces the rights of the parent which means that we will always communicate with the parent and submit to the parent regarding decisions for their child.

Safety Measures:

  • If a teen runs away, what procedure is taken?
  • Is the facility staff secured 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
  • What are the credentials of the staff?
  • What is the staff-to-student ratio?
  • Is there regulations put on mail and phone calls?
  • Do staff members read the mail? Do they monitor the calls?

Visits to the School and Communication:

  • Can you visit the school prior your child's enrollment?
  • Will I be able to speak with my child? How often? 
  • When can you expect your first visit after your child is enrolled?
  • How often can I visit my child? Are there required visits for parents?
  • Will you be allowed to take your child off campus?
  • Will you be allowed to have weekend visits off campus with your child?
  • Will they be coming home for the holidays? What is the schedule?
  • Do they offer transportation to the airports? What is the fee for this?

"Wit's End!" Book will offer more details to these questions. www.WitsEndBook.com for more information.

Click here for more helpful hints in researching schools and programs.

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