Questions to Ask Troubled Teen Programs Before Your Teen Attends

Enrolling your teen into a program to address challenging or concerning behaviors comes with many questions and decisions. Locating a program that is right for your teen is key to getting him help. There are many options available including online programs for teens, summer camps, military programs, residential, outpatient, wilderness and therapeutic. You know your teen best, so consider the behaviors you are seeing as well as the characteristics of your teen. When interviewing programs, ask many questions and be sure to consider the content on their website.

About the Program

  • What interventions are used in this program?
  • What kind of teen excels in your program? What kind of teen does not do well in your program?
  • What behaviors are you good at working with? What behaviors are you not good at working with?
  • How will the staff help my teen?
  • Who are the staff? What are they trained in? Is there any professional development that they complete?
  • Are staff subjected to a background check?
  • How long is a teen typically enrolled in your program? Do you often have teens coming back?
  • How will you know if my teen is improving? How will you know if my teen is getting worse?
  • Will my teen get individualized attention?
  • What are the other teens in the program right now working on?

Parents and Families

  • What are the Family Contact policies?
  • When will I be able to speak with or visit my teen?
  • How will I know if my teen is improving? How often will I get a status update?
  • What are your confidentially practices and policies?


  • What is the process if there is an Emergency?
  • Will I be contacted if my teen tries to hurt herself?


  • How do you decide what to work on with each teen?
  • Can I speak with alumni families?
  • Does this program use science-backed or evidence-based treatment strategies?
  • How does your program track success?

These questions can be a starting place for your conversations. Never feel like a burden by asking many questions. Your teen means everything to you and you want to make sure they are getting the best support available with their needs in mind.


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