2 Best Therapeutic Boarding Schools in California

Parents of teenagers who appear to have lost their way but may not have any recognized mental health issues may find relief in therapeutic boarding schools in California.

Parents have typically exhausted all other schools, outpatient, and community support options by the time they start thinking about boarding schools.

While residing at the school, a teen can receive more individualized education in the therapeutic boarding school’s organized and encouraging environment. 

They can concentrate on their homework without the daily disturbances or irritants that can make a teen act unruly. 

Rather than enrolling in a nearby private school while still living at home, this specialized setting can better meet the adolescent’s individual needs. Read on as we explore the therapeutic boarding schools in California and the factors to consider before choosing one.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Therapeutic Boarding School

The best therapeutic boarding schools are not just schools for academic activities but also places for building character and discipline.

  • Curriculum

The most crucial consideration when selecting a therapeutic boarding school for a child is locating a program with resources to fit his or her specific requirements. 

Think about the studies, the supervision, the therapeutic alternatives, and the extracurricular activities. 

Additionally, think about the child’s behavioral and mental health problems and whether the programs are created to address those requirements.

  • Location

A boarding school should ideally be reachable by car so that you may make more regular visits. 

However, choosing the right school for your child may be more crucial than choosing a location.

  • Fees

The reality is that boarding school is expensive and must be paid for by parents, even though in an ideal world expense would not be an issue. 

The cost of a therapeutic boarding school per month might range from $2,000 to $10,000. 

Scholarships might be available in addition to private finance, and insurance might cover a portion of the expense.

Difference Between a Boarding School And a Therapeutic Boarding School

Any school where students reside on-campus, away from their homes, while attending classes is considered a boarding school.

A therapeutic boarding school is similar to a traditional boarding school in that students reside on campus away from their homes, but there is more of an emphasis on academics and behavior modification using therapeutic techniques. 

This kind of school is typically prepared to handle kids with more challenging behavior.

Difference Between Therapeutic Boarding schools, Residential Treatment Centers and Residential Treatment Facilities

A private school that caters to the requirements of youngsters with behavioral problems is a therapeutic boarding school

Students live in the school on campus. Parents often foot the bill for sending their kids to this kind of live-in treatment facility, either in full or in part.

Residential Treatment Centers provide intense care with an emphasis on mental health and are frequently paid for by Medicaid, insurance, and governmental programs. A mental health diagnosis is required for children to be placed in RTC.

Programs such as residential treatment facilities, often known as juvenile programs or “juvie,” are designed to meet the needs of children who are placed through the court system. 

Children in these programs might have conduct disorders or oppositional defiant disorder, or they might have committed or be in danger of committing a crime.

Admission Process In Therapeutic Boarding Schools

A therapeutic boarding school’s admissions procedure is frequently more involved than it is for other schools. 

An interview may come after the first application, and then there may be an assessment.

Before beginning the program, the student will undergo an evaluation after being accepted. 

To understand their needs and limitations, a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker will be consulted during this evaluation. 

Before being accepted into the program, the student would often take an IQ test to determine where they stand academically in contrast to their peers.

A team meeting and review of the child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 will take place if one exists. 

Legally, the school must provide the adjustments specified in the IEP or 504 for the student.

Deciding If A Therapeutic Boarding School Is The Right Decision

For children who have struggled in a typical classroom environment or who are out of control in their home or community, therapeutic boarding schools are a crucial choice. It’s crucial to do your homework on the therapeutic boarding school’s program before enrolling a child there.

Depending on your child’s diagnosis, a therapeutic boarding school might be a good fit:

  • ADD(Attention deficit disorder)
  • ADHD(Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • ODD(Oppositional defiant disorder)
  • RAD(Reactive attachment disorder)
  • PTSD(Post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Use of drugs, alcohol, or other drugs in the past

Depending on the severity of their demands, some children with these diagnoses will also qualify for residential care, and a residential treatment facility may be a more acceptable setting for them.

Parents may also take into account boarding schools with therapies for the following reasons:

  • difficulties coping in a public school environment
  • Poor friend selections
  • Rebellious behavior
  • Issues with regular education, low self-esteem, and a need for greater supervision than is possible at home or in the community

Boarding schools make sure that kids have the best chance for success in life by offering a therapeutic program in addition to a demanding academic curriculum. 

Families that require their children to receive treatment while still living in a secure environment might consider boarding schools as a viable choice.

The List of Top Therapeutic Boarding Schools In California

California is home to not many but standard traditional boarding schools. 

In this article, we give you just 2 top boarding schools in California

River View Christian Academy

A private, Christian therapeutic boarding school with full accreditation, River View Christian Academy was founded in 1993.

River View is set up to give pupils a well-rounded education so they are ready for the future as students and individuals.

Students at the boarding school, aged 12 to 17, are young people who have suffered academically because of unfavorable influences or behavior.

The school is an all-girls school where young girls struggling with bad behavior are helped in therapy and also in their education.

Location: Teen Rescue

31500 Grape St. #326

Lake Elsinore, CA 92532

Phone: +1 800-494-2200

Plumfield Academy

Plumfield Academy, established in 1964 by parents of special needs children, has grown into one of the most effective programs for specialized education of its kind. 

The committed staff at Plumfield Academy has been assisting boys for more than 55 years as they build on their strengths and areas of interest while fostering development and change in the social, emotional, and academic areas that most challenge them.

Boys at Plumfield Academy receive a specialized education for their emotional, academic, and behavioral difficulties.

The school has licensed therapists with over 25 years of experience. Students go through individual and group counseling.

The school also offers psychiatric support, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy.

Location: 9360 Occidental Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472, United States

Phone: +1 707-824-1414

How Effective is a Therapeutic Boarding School?

Some people wonder exactly how effective a therapeutic boarding school is. 

Well, therapeutic boarding schools are private campuses rather than being open to the general public. 

This implies that only parents and siblings of attending students—rarely anyone else—will be allowed to join our campus, along with staff members and guests who have been granted prior authorization.

In therapeutic boarding schools, students will receive personal care and attention and also have highly trained staff caring for them.

They combine therapy, relationship building, and development to help each student.

So we can confidently tell you that a therapeutic boarding school is as effective as you think.


According to reports, California has about 22 boarding schools.

And therapeutic boarding schools are even fewer. However, these two schools listed above are what we recommend for you.

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