Teenage Treatment Centres

There comes a point that a youth worker will have a concerned parent(s) ask one of the toughest questions they will ever be asked in youth ministry. The first time I was asked this question I was still cutting my teeth in youth ministry and I was completely unprepared. Luckily I was asked this question when a parent called me at the office so they didn’t see the blank stare on my face. I said I would get back to them as before the day was out because I was working on something else. I lied! My entire agenda for that day got thrown out and finding the answer for this parent and more importantly for myself was my only aim. The question was this:

what teenager treatment centre would I recommend as youth pastor?

Questions could continue about which centres are the best ones, and eventually the cost of various treatment centres will come up. Parents are willing to do whatever it takes for their kids.

I was recently challenged on this when I watched a CBC special on a teenage treatment centre in Calgary.

The Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre, based in Calgary, claims an 80 per cent success rate. The Calgary facility that is supposed to help teens overcome addictions is the subject of some abuse allegations, a CBC investigation has found.            [CBC Article Here]

This got me thinking, what do I really know about teenage treatment centres? I’ve had personal contact with only 2-3 centres, yet I know there are more. I have never  been on any of their properties and I certainly don’t know what material they cover in their respective programs.

Some questions to think through:

1)    What treatment centre would I recommend without hesitation? 

2)    What do we really know about these treatment centres? If I need to research and even take a road trip, then I should do that. (This could also be part of #3&4 as well.)

3)    Does your church/ministry have any policies about what treatment centre(s) they would support or recommend?

4)    If there is no policy in place, you might be a catalyst to get one established and potentially a clear process for other staff and youth workers so everyone will know what to do if they are asked the same question.

5)    Does your church financially support a teenage treatment centre through their missions budget.

6)    Do you have any more questions?

Join the discussion by giving us your stories, suggestions by leaving a comment!

by jeff smyth


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