Residential Treatment & Family Services

The Residential Treatment and Family Services Program (RTFSP) is an eighteen-bed treatment unit that serves Court ordered males who are 12 to 17 years old. Services are provided by a multi-disciplinary treatment team consisting of licensed mental health professionals, family therapists, probation officers, reintegration and family services coordinators, youth specialists, medical and educational personnel.

Throughout the course of treatment, services are provided to both the youth and their family. Complete and thorough individualized assessments and treatment plans are developed and implemented. Treatment plans and programming address criminogenic risk factors, family functioning, academics, medical concerns, individual behaviors and mental health and substance abuse issues.

Parental Involvement

Parental involvement is a required key component of the treatment program. The Parenting with Love and Limits Re-entry program provides an opportunity for parents to learn new skills and strategies that address their child’s behavior and to restore positive warm relationships within the family system. Parents/guardians participate in family groups and are involved in coaching and counseling sessions throughout placement and aftercare. Family counseling is also provided by certified Master's level therapists. Parenting with Love and Limits® (PLL) was founded in 2001 by Dr. Scott Sells. PLL is an evidence-based system of care that trains agencies and therapists to achieve better outcomes with children and their families in areas of trauma, mental illness, and delinquency. The PLL model has achieved national recognition for its outcomes in increasing both parent and caregiver involvement in their child’s treatment. Additional positive outcomes include: improved behavioral health for child behavior issues, decreased trauma levels, reducing out-of-home placement, decreasing lengths of stay and return to treatment.

Treatment Process

While placed in RTFSP the youth will work through three phases of treatment culminating in their reintegration back into their community and family system. Master's level Case Managers provide weekly individual counseling and group counseling several times a week. The use of Rational Behavior Training (RBT) techniques provides youth with the tools to address their individual thinking patterns and behaviors.

Youth in the Residential Treatment and Family Services Program participate in both individual and group therapy. Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) ® is a group therapy focused on reducing recidivism by improving moral decision making. To learn how to make better choices, youth complete 16 steps targeting areas such as beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors; assessment of current relationships; reinforcement of positive behavior and habits; and development of higher stages of moral reasoning. 

MRT is one of the most widely implemented cognitive behavior programs, implemented in 40 states and several countries. MRT seeks to move clients from hedonistic (pleasure vs. pain) reasoning to levels where concern for social rules and others becomes important. Research on MRT has shown that as clients pass steps, moral reasoning increases in juvenile offenders. Controlled evaluations of MRT indicate that program participants have lower recidivism rates than controls.

In 2005, a meta-analysis of nine published outcome studies detailed the effects of MRT on recidivism. The studies found MRT cut expected recidivism by nearly two-thirds over a time period of six months to over two years. It is designed specifically for the treatment of resistant clients.

Individual and group substance abuse treatment services are provided by credentialed substance abuse counselors. 

The program also emphasizes Restorative Justice and provides opportunities for the youth to participate in a variety of community service projects.

Individualized educational services are provided by the Berrien County Regional Education Services Agency. Great emphasis is placed on helping youth to be successful in school and to develop study habits that will help them be successful in community schools. Throughout the course of treatment, the youth will participate in Court Review Hearings every 90 days.


When the youth and his family have accomplished all treatment goals, release can be requested from the residential program. When the youth is released from RTFSP he will be on Aftercare Probation for a minimum of three months. The Family Therapist, Probation Officer, and the Reintegration and Family Services Coordinator will continue to provide support and supervision when the youth returns to his family and the community. Once the youth has completed all terms and conditions of Aftercare Probation he will be eligible for release from Court Supervision.