Frequently Asked Questions … and their answers
Is Teen Challenge just for teens?
Teen Challenge works with youth, adults, and families. Our center directory lists the programs, their locations, and what gender and age groups that they accept.
Is Teen Challenge a medical program?
No. Teen Challenge uses a Christian faith-based recovery model. We rely on the teachings of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the study and practical application of Biblical principles to be the transformative component of our recovery program. While we recognize psychological and medical expertise to address many of the issues of addictions, we approach these issues from a spiritual perspective.
Why is Teen Challenge effective?
While many think it is the combination of both the length of the program (12-18 months in residential centers) and the faith-based environment that helps people to overcome life-controlling problems, we believe it is “the Jesus Factor.” We believe that when people develop a relationship with God, everything changes for them. This means that new priorities, attitudes, reactions, plans, and goals in life all add up to cause real change. A new life in Christ and incorporating Biblical principles for daily living replace the old lifestyle, attitudes, and behaviors.
What is an Outreach & Referral Office?
This is a local Teen Challenge resource office that assists people who need help or want to enter a residential Teen Challenge program. Some offices offer weekly classes or groups for those who cannot enter a residential program.
Can anyone order your curriculum?
Our curriculum can be purchased and used by anyone. Our only caution is that programs or organizations that are not certified Teen Challenge programs not present themselves as sanctioned Teen Challenge programs, even if they use our curriculum.
How do I start a Teen Challenge?
If you are interested in starting a Teen Challenge program, contact our accreditation manager, Doug Lance, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will be emailed a basic description about how Teen Challenge is organized, what criteria is considered when determining where new Teen Challenge programs are opened, and what qualifications must be met in order to open a new Teen Challenge program. You will also receive an application with step-by-step procedures that are required.
FAQs for Applicants
How can I get help?
Contact the Teen Challenge program that you feel is right for you. Remember that you must provide your own transportation. Communicate with the Intake Staff; they will provide you with admission requirements and program descriptions.
What are the age cut offs for both the adolescent and adult programs?
Adolescent Teen Challenge programs generally work with teens ages 12-17. Most adult programs work with individuals over the age of 18. There is not usually an upper range age cap in adult programs. The average age in adult Teen Challenge programs is between 25-35.
Do I have to participate in the religious aspects of the program to receive help?
We give full disclosure to every person who enters Teen Challenge that this is a Christian faith-based program. Entrance into all Teen Challenge programs are voluntary, and part of that voluntary agreement include participation in all aspects of the program, including the religious aspects of the program.
If a person drops out of the program, can they get their money back?
Each individual Teen Challenge program has its own policy regarding fees, tuition, and refunds. This information should be thoroughly explained, and provided in writing, at the time of admission. In most cases, admission fees are non-refundable. In adolescent programs where finances are more of an issue, refund policies will be provided by the individual Teen Challenge programs.
Do you have centers that are lock-down or take someone against their will?
There are no adult Teen Challenge residential programs that are lock-down facilities; they are all voluntary. Some adolescent Teen Challenge programs work with youth who have been enrolled against their will. However, even in those instances, an understood level of cooperation must exist.
Do you have centers for the whole family?
There are a few Teen Challenge programs that work with the whole family. Call (417) 581-2181, or visit our Residential page for more details.
Do you have centers for mothers and children?
Yes, there are some Teen Challenge programs that are for mothers and their children. Call (417) 581-2181, or visit our online directory for more details.
Do I need to detox before coming to Teen Challenge?
Most Teen Challenge programs require that you detox – preferably a medically supervised detox – prior to entering the program. Most communities have detox centers. Local Teen Challenges can often make recommendations about where to go through detox.
Will Teen Challenge accept people with dual diagnosis ?
Dual diagnosis is common with individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Most Teen Challenge programs are not licensed as drug or alcohol treatment centers that employ licensed therapists. Instead, they utilize Christian faith-based discipleship training to help those who come to them for help with addictions.
If an applicant’s mental health issues are beyond the scope of a local Teen Challenge program, that individual will most likely be re-directed to other treatment facilities that can properly care for those with dual diagnosis special needs.
How long is your program?
A typical residential Teen Challenge program lasts 12-18 months. Progression through the program depends on each student’s determination and work, rather than to a strictly enforced time table.
What does it cost to go to a Teen Challenge program?
Costs vary from center to center. Because these fees are set by the local Teen Challenge program and their Board of Directors, costs can only be determined by contacting a specific program.
Why does the adolescent program cost more than the adult programs?
Adolescent Teen Challenge centers are under greater restrictions and legal oversight, which limits their fundraising activities. They must also provide more specialized services, such as year-round secondary schooling. This, among other factors, requires that a fee be charged. In most cases, the fees charged do not cover the actual costs of the services provided.
Can people be sentenced to Teen Challenge rather than prison?
People often petition the court to rule in favor of sentencing them to Teen Challenge instead of prison. It is imperative that when the courts are petitioned to do this, that it is clearly communicated that Teen Challenge is a faith-based program and that Christian, Biblical principles and practices are fully integrated into the program.
What are the primary issues that an adolescent program focuses on?
The primary focus for adolescent Teen Challenge programs is to address delinquent and at-risk behaviors within the framework of a Christian faith-based environment.
How can the national office help if I have a complaint with a Teen Challenge program?
Every Teen Challenge program is governed by their own Board of Directors and has their own articles of incorporation and IRS tax-exempt ruling. Each program is responsible for all complaints against their organization. Should you have a complaint or issue and are uncertain about who to contact, please email Doug Lance at email@example.com for assistance in getting you to the right contact person.
Please understand that Teen Challenge USA has no supervisory control over any local Teen Challenge program or organization.
FAQs for Family Members
If I wanted to visit, will I be allowed?
Each Teen Challenge program has its own visitation policy, but generally only immediate family members are allowed contact with the student. Contact between the student and other individuals will be severely restricted for the same reasons that are present in other programs of similar nature.
FAQs about Donations
If I donate online for a particular center, does it go to the center or to the main office in Springfield?
All gifts designated online will go to the specified Teen Challenge center, though a receipt will be issued from Teen Challenge USA.
To donate to a local center, visit our Find a Center page and click the “Donate” button below that center’s location. This will take you to a brief form that will allow you to enter in your contact and credit card information.
Can I donate a vehicle to Teen Challenge?
Absolutely. For details, please visit our vehicle donation page.
What is the best way to give to Teen Challenge via Planned Giving (will, grant, etc)?