Schools for Troubled Youth Maintain High Standards of Service Delivery During Difficult Economic Times

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NATSAP sees upsurge in many special needs programs' enrollment despite challenges brought on by sluggish economy.

While the recent closing of several Aspen Education Group residential treatment centers, and the consolidation of three others into existing Aspen facilities, is very unfortunate, the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) applauds Aspen for the care and conscientiousness it is exhibiting in its handling of the children and families affected by these moves.

“While it is indeed unfortunate that difficult economic times have necessitated these changes, “ said NATSAP President Glen Zaugg, “Aspen is taking great care in working with families to ensure that their children’s needs are met, that they are properly cared for, and that the transition is as seamless as possible under trying circumstances.”

NATSAP is a national not-for-profit membership association composed of residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding schools, and therapeutic wilderness programs and numbers some 165 programs across the United States and Canada.

Aspen reported that the transition decision came as a result of a reduced demand for therapeutic schools and programs in today’s economy, and was only made after much deliberation and “substantial financial investment over the past two years in an effort to avoid program consolidations.”

Aspen is working closely with students, parents, and referring professionals and staff to minimize the impact of these changes. Aspen has also offered stay incentives to critical academic and therapeutic staff to ensure the continuation of high-level services during the reorganization process, which will take up to six months to complete. It is anticipated that the majority of students will continue uninterrupted in their present program locations and graduate as planned. Aspen is also paying student relocation costs for those who transfer to other programs, either within or outside of the Aspen network.

NATSAP has developed best practice guidelines for its member programs, has assisted several states in the development of uniform and meaningful regulations governing programs of this kind, and only accepts programs into its membership if they are state licensed and/or accredited by one of several nationally-recognized, independent accreditation agencies.

“Most of these types of programs are individually owned and operated,” Zaugg continued, “and while the last several years have presented unique economic challenges for many families that have resulted in lower enrollments for some of our member programs, we are now beginning to see an upsurge in enrollments across our membership.”

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Clifford Brownstein
cliff@natsap.org
301-986-8770
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