Finance Your Troubled Teen Going to a Treatment Center

While the goal of parenting is to raise a happy and healthy child and help him/her reach adulthood as part of the family, there are times that a family, for many different reasons, is unable to continue taking care of the child on their own. The child may have behavioral or mental health issues that prohibit the family from being able to manage the resulting behavior and attitudes that arise. This can include things, such as:

  • Chronic and severe defiance of authority
  • Trouble in school
  • Verbal or physical aggression
  • Alcohol or substance use or abuse

In these situations, a family may come to the point where they need to place the child or teen in a residential treatment program or center that is trained to deal with difficult or troubled youth. However, these programs and centers are typically not cheap and may cause the financial additional stress and financial trouble in order to finance. Generally health insurance does not cover these programs, except perhaps in the case of a diagnosis of alcohol or substance abuse. So families must be creative and think of other solutions to fund the program that is needed by their troubled child or teen.

Some options for funding programs include the following options

  • Using savings or other types of accounts – a family may choose to empty their savings account or to access retirement or investment savings in order to fund the program. However, there will be taxes and penalties involved in the use of the later types of accounts. Therefore, a family will have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of using that money now to fund the treatment center in exchange for the loss of investment income and the resulting penalties that they will be hit with per the regulations associated with the account.
  • Personal Loans – another option that many families look into is the taking out of a personal loan through a bank or credit union or even through a credit card. This can be an option for families that do not already have a number of loans or a large credit card debt to receive money quickly and have flexible options for paying it back as they are able to. However, the family will need to closely examine whether they will be able to handle the increased debt without putting the financial future at too much risk.
  • Second Mortgages – for families that own their own home, a second mortgage may be an option. In this situation, the family can borrow money using the home as collateral against the loan. However, again, the family will need to consider the large risks involved in this option and whether they will be able to pay the loan back without defaulting and possibly losing the family home.
  • Obtaining additional employment – parents who need additional money to fund a program may also choose to obtain a second job, such as on the weekend or opposite their normal work shift. This may be an option for a family that is working with a treatment center that allows payment plans. The parents can then work additional hours and make weekly or monthly payments to the center in order to assist their troubled child or teen.
  • Downsizing possessions or cutting entertainment items – a family can also look at the items that they currently own or the activities that they participate in and look at ways to reduce current expenses or downsize to different options in order to have additional money available each period to pay to the center (again for a center that takes payment plans). The family could give up luxuries such as cable television, internet access, eating out, etc. If the parents own a vehicle or multiple vehicles, they could look at selling one or both or downsizing to a smaller or less expensive model.
  • Applying for Grants/Scholarships – some treatment centers may have scholarship programs for families who are unable to fund the program in full or part. The family may be able to apply for assistance by showing financial hardship and need. There may also be local social service programs that the family can seek assistance from as well. Social workers or intake staff at the particular program or center may be able to point the family in directions that can provide financial assistance to troubled youth and their families.
  • Seeking help from relatives or friends – many families, especially those who do not have a good credit history, do not own possessions that can be borrowed against or sold, choose to go to family and friends to ask to assist the child. For example, parents may ask the child’s grandparents or godparents to provide a portion of the funding needed. This can be done as a personal loan that is paid back or as a gift to the child/family in lieu of birthday or holiday gifts, etc. While this can be a great option, the family must make sure that there is a clear understanding about whether the money is a loan or a gift and if it is a loan, establish clear guidelines for repayment, so that later family difficulties and issues do not arise.

Families that need to seek the assistance of a treatment center or program for their troubled child or teen have many options for finding the money necessary to make this option a reality. It will likely not be easy or a necessarily pleasant task to raise the money, but with some creative thought, hard work, and compromises, the family does have options to get their child the assistance that is needed.

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