Seeking treatment for a child with harmful sexual behavior can be overwhelming. In our final post of this series we are providing you with resources to find and fund the right treatment for your child as you consider your family’s needs regarding treatment type, finances, location, morals, and religious beliefs.
Finding qualified treatment for harmful sexual behavior
Remember – you ARE the parent. Protecting your rights as a parent is protecting your child. You know your child best and must advocate for them. If well-meaning therapists, counselors, religious leaders or physicians are not giving you information on your child or trying to usurp your quest for information and help, quite possibly you are in a DANGER zone. -Robin Reber
All parents start by looking around where they live, talking to people they know and trust - friends, family, counselors, religious leaders, attorneys, case workers. Sometimes this works well, but sometimes it delays or even damages the process. Local knowledge around this particular issue is very limited.
The type of treatment you need is specialized, unique and unfortunately not readily available. There are only a handful of programs that specialize in gaming, technology, pornography and/or process addictions for children.
Also, note that much of what you may find on the internet as you run searches is not specialized, nor appropriate for the issues we're addressing in this series.
Online resources you can trust when seeking treatment for a child with harmful sexual behavior
Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers -This is a directory of outpatient therapists that have specialized training. Remember to add the filter of “children” or “teens.” This information is free.
The Envoy Group Parent Advocates – Envoy utilizes over a decade of knowledge and experience in helping families in their search for the best Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers and Wilderness Therapy options for their struggling teen. Their information and services are private, individualized and free.
National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth - NCSBY's Parent Page has many great resources for parents from initial steps to finding resources for treatment. This is a free website.
Independent Educational Consultants Association – IECA. You can hire an Educational Consultant that specializes in working with families with adolescents who are seeking full time treatment, as well as continuation of academic pursuits. You are going to need to interview the consultants you select and make sure they have experience working with your specific problem. They will do a lot of the “work” for you and stay in touch with you and the program throughout the course of treatment. There are consulting fees for these professionals ($2K - $10K).
International Institute for Trauma & Addiction Professionals – IITAP. This site provides a directory for certified Sexual Addiction professionals. Be sure to put a filter in for “children” or “teens” as most professionals only treat adults. This information is free.
National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs – NATSAP membership directory. Again, if you are looking on your own, be very specific as to the pornography or sexual addictions going on with your child. Most programs will not accept youth who have already crossed the line and are acting out on others. This information is free.
National Center on Sexual Exploitation-NCOSE. I would highly recommend joining this organization to stay current on issues facing our families around PORN. It will also help you become an informed activist parent taking a stand to protect our children. This coalition is vast with thousands of programs, concerned parents and professionals adding their voice to the damage pornography is doing to our families. They have many resources for information on their site.
Society for Advancement of Sexual Health – SASH directory. This information is free. Be sure to put in filters for professionals that have experience with teens/youth.
Questions to ask when seeking treatment for a child with harmful sexual behavior
In every call you make, be sure to interview the people you are reaching out to. Not every resource mentioned is going to be the perfect fit for you. Keep a notebook and write down the details of the websites you have visited, names of people you have spoken with, etc. This will help you sort through the mountains of information you are beginning to gather.
Here are some questions you should consider asking:
- Are they licensed within their State of Jurisdiction? Under what department?
- Do they have experience working with sexual specific issues? Don’t buy into the notion that sexual addictions are the same as substance addictions. Your child needs to be with children who are struggling in the same way they are so their learning journey can be supported.
- What credentials and additional training do their therapists, line staff and support teams have?
- What’s their staff to student ratio?
- What’s their safety record? How do they ensure the safety of the children while they are there?
- Are children under 24/7 supervision?
- Can kids run? Who is notified if they do leave?
- Will they have access to phones or the internet? How is this monitored? What kinds of filters are in place?
- How is the family involved? How often do parents speak with the therapy team? How often do parents speak with their child?
- Are on-site visits required?
- Will the therapist/program be able to speak openly with you regarding treatment? How often are these calls? Can these conversations be done virtually?
- What about schooling?
- If reporting is necessary, are parents included in the process?
- Is it coed or single gender? How are youth supervised?
- What is their approach to sensitive topics and how are they viewed in our politically correct climate?
- Can they abide by the belief systems your family has?
Curriculum resources for children with harmful sexual behavior
Brain Defense: Digital Safety Curriculum by Protect Young Minds for use by families, churches or schools to teach kids about digital dangers--including pornography--and how to reject those dangers. Primarily for prevention, but can also be used after pornography exposure before it escalates to addiction. For ages 8-12.
Band of Brothers Well-trained, on-site, outpatient resource for male adolescents in Mesa, Arizona
Culture Reframed Free parent training curriculum specific to educating parents of teens and tweens to recognize the harms of our pornified world--especially to women.
Fortify Accountability program by Fight the New Drug. Appropriate for adolescents, although it is online-based and may be difficult for the younger adolescent to manage along with an online pornography addiction.
Freein13 A notebook curriculum that is not online and is mentor supported, which is very helpful when online abstinence is needed. This program preempts progression toward porn.
Game Quitters Program for families who have youth OR young adults who are addicted to gaming that appears to be the primary difficulty.
No Fap Community-centered sexual health platform with support groups. Young adult appropriate.
Pure Life Ministries – Overcomers Biblically-based counseling and curriculum, victorious counselors and a structured program for young adults and adults.
Sons of Helaman A Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints oriented online virtual group for young men ages 12-26, teaching them to overcome pornography challenges and other unwanted sexual self-mastery behaviors. These groups appear to be directed by different trained professionals who have received specific training around these topics. They also have programs for young women--“Daughters of Light”, Fathers – “Eternal Warriors”, and Mothers –”Mothers who Know”. There are fees associated with these groups.
Intensive treatment for harmful sexual behaviors
For parents who recognize that their child’s situation is far beyond a preventative, small-scale conversation or treatment type, here are the full time, private, residential programs that I know do good work with pornography addiction and harmful sexual behaviors for adolescents.
Note that Star Guides is the only one available for girls as well as boys. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Capstone Treatment Center Searcy, AR. For boys ages 14-26. Christian/faith based, CSAT, Trauma trained therapists. They use dogs within their therapeutic model. $15,000/month. Length of stay 90 days. 866-729-4479
Forte Strong St. George, UT. For young men ages 18-26. Failure to Launch transition program. Strong experience with technology addictions. Average length of stay 6 months. 866-763-7033
Kaizen Residential Treatment Center Fairview, UT. For boys ages 13-17. $11,250/month. 801-798-5448
Oxbow Academy Mount Pleasant, UT. For boys ages 11-18. CSAT, NOJOS credentialed, EGALA trained, EMDR therapists. $14,200/month. 855-676-4272.
Star Guides Wilderness St. George, UT. For boys or girls ages 13-17. CSAT, NOJOS, trauma trained, EMDR. Can take youth that are already embroiled in legal charges. $15,000/month. Can work with most health insurances to reduce this cost. 800-584-4629
Whetstone Boys Ranch, Mountain View, MO. For boys ages 12-16. Christian-based, ideal candidate is post-Star Guides. $5,500/month. 417-934-1112
White River Academy Delta, UT. For boys ages 12-17. CSAT, EMDR, trauma trained therapists. Faith-Friendly. $9000/month. Can work with insurance. 435-922-1183.
Funding of treatment for children with harmful sexual behaviors
The costs of these programs can range anywhere from $25,000 - $150,000 a year by the time a teenager completes the program. This is a significant sacrifice for most families, but there is help out there.
Here are some ideas of how you could raise funds to help meet your child's needs.
Start with what you have:
- Do you own your own home?
- Do you own your car?
- Do you own any jewelry?
- Do you have bonds, stocks, IRA or 401K you can cash in?
- Does your child have an Education Fund plan or College 529 Plan?
- Do you have a trust fund?
Move outward, look to your close friends and family to gift or borrow:
- Family Members
- Close Friends
Local community/online communities:
- Local community groups
- Go Fund Me page
- Your church family
Behavioral health loans:
Coalitions and scholarships:
- Adoptive Families Coalition Non-Profit Assistance with Fundraising or Scholarship offers a unique plan to assist in meeting the high cost of therapeutic treatment. Call 602-740-7149 or 602-390-0220. Adoptive Families Coalition (AFC) welcomes and helps families with post-adoption challenges. Find an application on the Sponsorship page.
- Ashes to Glory seeks to help hurting families obtain the quality care necessary to break the bondage of destructive patterns and addiction.
- Jason William Hunt Foundation supports families through crisis through Wilderness Expedition Treatment Programs.
- Parker Bounds Johnson Foundation serves teens & young adults from Oregon & Washington State in need of Wilderness therapy.
- IEP Funding. If education is being thwarted as a result of addiction, trafficking, harmful sexual behavior risks, or mental health needs, school districts potentially will pay for the treatment. It’s not an easy path, but it’s one worth looking into. Look into COPAA.org for assistance with this process. Many school districts won’t negotiate this without an advocate who can help you.
- Crime Victim's Compensation (See Crime Victim's Compensation Handout). If there has been a crime reported you can apply for compensation. It doesn’t have to go to court or be proven. Even if the crime is older than the set timeline for reporting, you can appeal. Don’t dismiss this opportunity.
- Educational or College Savings Plans. Check to see how your plan is written.
- Adoption Assistance Funding for State Adopted Children (CA, MI, others)
- Single Case Agreements with insurance companies.
- Retirement Fund. Some retirement plans allow you to borrow against a retirement fund to pay for medical purposes without a penalty for early withdrawal.
- Health Insurance. Most health insurances do not pay for full time residential treatment of sexual addiction and do not recognize pornography addiction as a payable difficulty; however, they do recognize all of the mental health disorders that result from children watching porn. I have seen some good recovery with Aetna, BCBS, and Tricare depending on how the policies are written. Ask the program you are placing your child in if they can bill your insurance for you or if you can get medical bills to submit for reimbursement.
Legal help for families who have a child with harmful sexual behaviors
Child & Parent Rights: If your parental rights are being challenged this is a group that can help.
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates Directory: This is for families who have children with special needs, on IEP’s or 504’s. Children with special needs could potentially have resources that will pay for treatment.
Adopted Foster Care Youth: If you have an adopted child that you believe suffered neglect or abuse prior to your adoption and you need the records for that information, go to Childwelfare.gov to fill out a written request for Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records. This information may help you apply for Victims Crime Benefits (as mentioned above).
My final wish for you is to ACT early! It’s always a deeper issue than you think, you are most likely not OVERreacting. Early intervention can result in earlier recovery. Please reach out to me if you need to. Hundreds of thousands of parents and families are facing the same struggle.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
The recommended resources listed by the author have not been vetted by Protect Young Minds. If you have any questions, please contact Robin Reber, Admissions Director Star Guides; email@example.com or 435-414-5786.
This is the final part of a four-part series. In Part 1 we give parents an overview on what to expect when they discover their child has engaged in harmful sexual behavior. Part 2 focuses on the legal and reporting requirements. And in Part 3 we discuss the various treatment types available.