Chad Smith has stepped into a brand new position: Executive Program Director. Chad has been with Shelterwood for 10 years, and has a passion for helping teens and their families heal through unconditional love and encouragement. In this new leadership role, Chad will be leading Shelterwood’s unique, restorative programming.   

 Chad oversees the residential, clinical and medical teams as well as the training and research coordinators. Chad takes an active role in reviewing notes, looking for treatment issues, and communicating with cross-functional treatment teams. He helps teams make sure they are asking the right questions and leaning into activities or strategies that are getting traction. 

“It’s an ever-moving target,” Chad says. “We have different kids with different issues, and we treat each one individually. Those teams are dealing with different challenges and successes all the time.”

Chad also is the point person for Shelterwood’s accreditation compliance and reviews.  

“Accreditation isn’t a one-time process. It’s a daily life,” Chad says. “I believe accreditation helps us ensure our top values remain our top values.” 

Chad says safety and security has always been Shelterwood’s number one priority—a value shared by The Joint Commission, the agency’s accrediting body. He says the accreditation process helps give Shelterwood a better language to talk about maintaining those values. 

Faith-led service 

Chad is proud of Shelterwood’s distinctive approach that combines excellent clinical care with a mission-minded staff.

“We really bring our faith to the table every day as a staff,” Chad says. “Everyone who shows up on our campus comes with a mission in mind…they have a passion to help kids.”

Chad says his charge is to keep that mission going into the future. He emphasizes how Shelterwood communicates their faith through their actions and treating their patients with grace, love and mercy. Nothing is obligatory. Instead, Shelterwood offers voluntary ways for teens to explore their faith at their own speed. 

“We don’t force faith on anybody. It’s relationally based. A kid can come into our program without a faith or a belief in God, and we’ll treat them the same as a kid who has a deep faith,” Chad says. “We believe that our real mission is to meet people where they are—not where we think they should be.” 

Looking ahead

Chad laughs when he talks about future goals—“I’m about two months into this position”—but he says that Shelterwood wants to expand its program in a couple key ways. One is increasing treatment for parents, caregivers and families. 

“We don’t believe our mission is to simply treat kids who are having issues, but to bring healing to the teen and restoration to the family,” Chad says. 

Another is giving families more after-treatment support and providing more guidance after the teen’s stay at Shelterwood. 

“We want to work on that process,” Chad says. “Going from 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year mega-support to regular life back home…it’s a transition. We want to increase our help there.” 

A history of youth service

Chad’s new role is a culmination of 27 years of youth work. 

He began his career as a youth pastor. He was earning his second-career certification for teaching when he met a group of teenagers he didn’t recognize at the church he was attending. He asked them who they were, and they told him they were students at Shelterwood. It was his first introduction to the residential treatment agency, where he soon found his calling. Chad began as a teacher and took on roles as an academic dean and program director before beginning his new job in September. 

“My job is to make sure that our program has continuuity, that clients are getting the best treatment they can, and that our teams are functioning well together.” 

Do you know a teen who would benefit from a clinically excellent, faith-led approach to residential treatment? Talk to one of our admissions staff today.