Professional Trade Organization Raises the Bar for Care of Adolescents in Residential Treatment

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National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) Strengthens Membership Requirements

In a formal statement issued last week to its members, the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) announced new requirements for membership. Established by the NATSAP board of directors, the new requirements enhance the safety of adolescent clients and improve the quality of care administered by the association’s 181 member programs.

“The new standards require our therapeutic programs and schools to maintain state licensure or accreditation," said NATSAP spokesperson Rosemary Tippett. “They underscore our commitment to the safe and nurturing care of the 17,000 adolescents served annually by NATSAP programs.”

Effective May 1, 2007, all programs applying for membership in NATSAP must meet the following requirements:

1.    Licensure by the appropriate state agency authorized to set and oversee standards of therapeutic and/or behavioral healthcare for youth and adolescents or accreditation by a mental health accreditation agency.
2.    Therapeutic services with oversight by a qualified clinician.
3.    Compliance with NATSAP Ethical Principles and NATSAP Principles of Good Practice (see

To be considered for full membership status, programs and schools must have operated for more than two years. Current NATSAP members must achieve the new standards by January 1, 2009. NATSAP will provide assistance to new and member programs wishing to qualify.

“NATSAP remains dedicated to a leadership role in improving the standards of our profession,” said Tippet.


NATSAP was created in January 1999 to serve as a national resource for programs and professionals who assist young people beleaguered by emotional and behavioral difficulties. NATSAP publishes an annual directory listing all of its member programs. The directory serves to inform health care professionals and families about the many residential placement alternatives available to help struggling young people. NATSAP is not an accrediting or licensing body. We are a volunteer membership organization supporting professionals and programs in their efforts to help troubled young people.

For more information about NATSAP and our member organizations, visit the NATSAP website at or call our public relations office at (770) 435-8464.


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