The Shelterwood admissions journey is different for every family. Some parents might call when their child is in crisis and arrive on campus within a week. Some parents might be in touch with Shelterwood for years before deciding their teenager is ready for residential treatment. There’s no right or wrong way to begin here, as Shelly Moss, Shelterwood’s Director of Admissions will tell you.

1. Is residential treatment the right step?

“I see my role as being there for the parents to navigate and determine whether they are ready for residential placement,” Shelly says. She is on call to help families considering residential treatment weigh their options.

Two questions Shelly poses to parents when they call are:

  1. Are you in control of your child or are outside influences controlling your child?
  2. Can you keep your child safe?

If the answer to both of those questions is no, it might be time for the family to discuss residential treatment. Shelly also encourages the parents to exhaust all available resources at home, whether that be regular therapy, intensive outpatient programs or hospitalization, if needed. She also makes sure that parents understand that residential treatment isn’t a punishment or something to be used as a threat against their struggling teen.

“It’s the next step in their treatment and a way to get the tools they need to be successful,” she says.

2. Is Shelterwood the right fit for your family?

Shelly walks parents through all the questions they have about Shelterwood and its therapy, academics and relationship-based model of care. Some of the most common inquiries are:

  • How long is the program? Shelly tells parents that the average stay is nine to 12 months, but each teen’s path is different based on their needs.
  • What are the other teenagers like? Shelterwood treats young people who are  struggling with depression and anxiety and their manifestations, which can include school avoidance, unsafe behaviors, addiction and self-harm.
  • How many other students are there? Shelterwood is usually treating around 30 boys and 30 girls.
  • Does Shelterwood use a point system? Unlike behavioral-modification programs, Shelterwood uses a trauma-informed model of care that relies on trust-based relational intervention to encourage change, not points.
  • Is this a faith-based program? Shelterwood does not make faith a requirement for its students. If any Shelterwood teen wants to explore their own faith journey, the staff is ready and willing to support them, but it’s not mandatory. “We don’t make it a requirement because we want to be an authentic representation of Christ’s love,” Shelly says. “That’s why we approach it that way. We’re doing this because of our faith.”
  • What about school?  Students can enroll any day of the year. Through Shelterwood’s fully accredited academics program, students will be able to keep their credits and continue their education.
  • How much does Shelterwood cost? Shelterwood costs $7500 per month. Shelly works with families to explore insurance options and verify benefits.

One of the biggest keys to compatibility is whether the family is ready to be involved in Shelterwood’s process. Parents play a big part in their child’s treatment here, from regular therapy sessions to visits to family retreats.

“One of the most important things for a good fit is the parents’ willingness to work with Shelterwood and trust in the process,” Shelly says. “If the parents are co-parenting and working with their therapist at Shelterwood, the kid is going to succeed.”

4. Is this the right time and right place for your teen?

When families are ready to move forward, they fill out Shelterwood’s application. Shelterwood’s admissions team will evaluate each application from an academic, clinical and residential standpoint. The team wants to ensure Shelterwood’s program is going to be an appropriate fit for each applicant, too.

“We don’t rise to the level of a rehab facility, and we aren’t a lockdown facility,” Shelly explains. “We have to make sure this is the right program for the right child.”

The team also takes the current makeup of the houses into consideration, too, when bringing new students in.

“We want to make sure the new child will fit in with the group,” Shelly says. “It’s an art more than science in making sure it’s balanced, so the houses are healthy.”

. When do we begin?

Once an application has been accepted, families can choose an enrollment date as soon as the next day. When families arrive, they are greeted by house staff members and their therapist. Families get a tour of campus, if they’ve never visited before, and have their first family counseling session together. When teens are settled in and all the paperwork is finished, families have a chance to say goodbye. Parents will get regular reports from the house, school and therapists (timing is based on the needs of the parents and the child after the first few crucial days).  

Shelly says admissions day is emotional for parents. The decision to enroll in residential treatment is a difficult one, and most parents have tried everything at home before coming to Shelterwood.  

“When the child is enrolled with us, and the parents are leaving, they feel a relief, knowing their child is safe,” Shelly says. “They tell me they slept through the night for the first time in forever…knowing their child is in a place where they are loved and cared for and getting the help they need.”

Are you ready to start the conversation about residential treatment? Call Shelly at (816) 357-5350 to learn how Shelterwood can help your child.