The criteria for placement is that the adolescent possess emotional, behavorial and/or sexual problems that are not able to be handled in a less restrictive environment.
Issues that are addressed include offenses that brought the adolescent into care, breaking the cycle of offending and possible past abuse, trust issues, anger management, social competence, communication, self-esteem and values clarification. The youth are directly taught specialized procedures for interrupting and blocking dysfunctional patterns of thinking.
The Therapeutic community is based on Positive Peer Culture, which focuses on cooperative activity, peer feedback, problem solving, responsibility to others, and peer relationships. Adolescents are expected to be able, with the guidance of staff, to resolve problems themselves using skills and abilities they have been taught. This program utilizes a Level System (four levels) and a phase system as a measure of the adolescent's progress. As the adolescents progress in improving their behaviors and completing assignments they are allowed to move to a higher leve and phase status in the program which entails greater expectations, priveges and responsibilities.
Prior to graduation a youth must demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of the offense cycle and must implement a plan to maintain a safe lifestyle.