How to Start a Juvenile Treatment Facility

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Juvenile treatment facilities usually deal with minors or children under 18 years old. You can start a coed facility or work with a specific gender (only females). While treatment facility requirements vary by state, both for- and nonprofit facilities exist. Many facilities serve as compulsory detention centers but provide various services, such as education and health care.

  • Describe ideal participants or juveniles that the facility will serve best. For instance, you might target single teenage mothers or first time offenders who are 13 to 17 years old. You might concentrate on mental health and substance abuse treatment or rehabilitating repeat offenders.

  • Contact the state departments of corrections and juvenile justice about applicable regulations. Consult with an attorney to assess legal exposure (food safety, security, emergency medical equipment) and obtain licenses or permits required to operate a treatment facility.

  • Evaluate potential funding sources (public or private). Federal, state, and local government grants exist for several juvenile programs. Information is available online about funding opportunities (youthcourt.net/content/view/96/38).

  • Hire qualified employees, such as a receptionist, office manager, counselors and case managers. Screen applicants carefully by checking references along with criminal history (eliminate applicants with assault backgrounds or registered sex offenders).

  • Develop an operations manual that describes daily procedures including daily meals, visitor policy, and patient confidentiality rules. Highlight acceptable disciplinary actions (use of restraints, violent or escalated situations).

Tips & Warnings

  • Update information about community services and resources, such as religious or government based. Available programs might expand or change requirements, especially when connected to federal poverty guidelines that change annually
  • In spite your best intentions, some juveniles will not comply with their treatment. Anticipate noncompliance and develop contingency plans, such as how to respond when a child harms himself or poses a danger to others.

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