Group Homes

What is the difference between a group home and a residential boarding school for adolescents? Which would meet the particular need of my child? What are the benefits of a group home, and how would I know which one would be the best fit for my teenager?

These are all very legitimate questions that parents in search of help for their teenager may be asking. Parents need to know that their child is going to be safe and that they are going to have their needs met in whatever residential place that they choose for their child. Group home or boarding school?

A group home may be very similar to a therapeutic boarding school, depending on the services offered. If the group home provides counseling by licensed therapist as well as offering on-site school, then they may be very close to a therapeutic boarding school. The biggest difference may be the number of residents in the group home versus the boarding school. Typically, group homes are not a school, but primarily a home that utilizes a nearby school for their residents. A therapeutic boarding school can provide both therapeutic services as well as an on-site academic environment for the student, thus affording the opportunity for closer oversight and structure. This system also limits outside communication and activity that may hinder the process for recovery in certain students. The controlled academic environment may prove to be of great benefit for the teen using drugs or alcohol and working to gain control of their own addictions or impulses.

Some teens have a strong need for social interaction and may do much better in a boarding school with a larger number of students, whereas some students may be more comfortable in a group home with a smaller number of students. A group home would typically range from four to eight students, whereas a boarding school may reach much higher numbers and afford an opportunity for varied activities and sports.

Group homes will normally provide a range of services for the residents just as a boarding school will do. It really comes down to what a parent feels will best meet the need of their child and fit within the budget that they can afford. It is always important to research licensure of group homes or boarding schools to make certain that the facility is in compliance with their state regulations and adequately meeting the needs of the community they serve.

For discussion and information on boarding schools or group homes, please feel free to email us or call at your convenience. At Wolf Creek Academy, we address most issues that today’s teens are facing and will be happy to help your family with making a decision on the level of care for your child.