Residential Treatment Centers (RTCs)

Excepts from:

Click to access Residential_Treatment_Centers.pdf

However, a recent study that looked at a 7- to 8-year follow-up period found no evidence of positive effects on the outcomes measuring substance use problems, criminal activity, and psychological functioning. Although Phoenix Academy appeared to have short-term effects, no long-term effects were evident…

In 2004, Federal funding supported the placement of 200,000 youths in government or private residential facilities, which include youths not involved in the juvenile justice system (GAO 2008b)…

In addition, the costs of placing youths in residential programs such as RTCs can be substantial to the juvenile justice system (Bettman and Jasperson 2009). A report from the Justice Policy Institute (2009) estimates that reporting States spend an average of $7.1 million a day keeping youths in residential facilities…

In addition to these limitations, many of the treatments and services, whether psychotropic or psychosocial, delivered to youth in RTCs lack a foundation in research (Foltz 2004). For instance, Foltz calls attention to the widespread use of medications that have largely been tested only on adult populations and are prescribed “off label” to adolescents in treatment. Few evidence-based practices have been tested in RTCs, because of, in part, issues such as the lack of fit between Medicaid reimbursement and many evidence-based interventions (Bright et al. 2010). Moreover, a lack of funding can mean that inadequate services are available. In a survey of New York State RTCs, it was found that, because of budget constraints, facilities were forced to hire staff with limited formal education (Baker, Fulmore, and Collins 2008).

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