Troubled Teen / Boarding School Or A Summer Program

Evening, I have three children - 2 biological and 1 adopted - my adopted son was diagnosed with adhd at 7. We adopted him out of foster care and aren’t sure of his first few years nor natal history. We haven’t ruled out FASD - though doctors arent certain and there’s no true way to tell without a neurologist. At 16 we are seeing a spiraling out of control — dangerous behaviors, drugs, sneaking out, apathy, dishonesty, and poor grades. It’s unsettling for our family and not how we have raised or children. The psychiatrist he sees has recommended - sadly - that it’s time we look into a theraputic boarding school or summer program. This seems to be a slippery slope ... Some good, some bad ... and often you are hand held by a consultant. Does anyone have experience with this? Have the name of a consultant? I have seen previous post recommending Terry Trotter, Sullivan Ranch School, Herritage, etc. Also, any Los Angeles based Consultants would be welcomed too. We are currently down here for family - so a local opinion now to tied us over and help us launch into research might be good. Thanks.

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There is a non-profit group that meets monthly in Los Altos, Oakland, and San Rafael.  It is called Willows in the Wind and is a support group for parents such as yourself, facing this decision, or after having placed their child in residential treatment.  Here is the website:

Mercedes Carbone, educational consultant in Walnut Creek has guided us through finding the best support and placement for our child. I highly recommend working with her. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. This can be a very challenging process.

Coyote Coast, a private social work type organization specializes in dealing the kids like this, in Orinda should be able to help you. They are thoughtful,experienced and work with troubled kids and placements like schools and wilderness..  I'd be wary of sending away an adopted kid, but I know an instance where it worked well.  I think these schools are full of adopted kids.  Adoptive mom of teen.

We used David Heckenlively out of Walnut Creek to help us look at options for our emotionally troubled 17 year old son.  In the end, our son went to a therapeutic wilderness environment and then to a RTC that was very therapeutic based.  It was the hardest but best decision we have made and our son learned a lot of skills that still help him in life.  We were lucky in that our son was engaged and actively looking to find ways to manage and cope with life.  His take was that 1/3 of the boys were actively working on themselves, 1/3 were just going with the program and 1/3 were actively defiant or not at all engaged so not all kids will always have a positive outcome.