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New Perspectives - Apr, 2000 Issue #68 

 Extended Family Life Skills Program 
Spanish Fork, Utah
Paul Robinson, Program Director
801-798-8467 FAX: 801-798-8734

“The Extended Family Life Skills Program (EFLSP) is a state licensed psychological treatment program comprised of a residential psychological treatment center and several satellite support residences run on a family model system.” They serve youth aged 4-18 with issues such as “attention deficit, hyperactivity, behavior and attitude problems, educational deficiencies, difficulty accepting authority, inadequate social interaction skills, and noncompliance.” They will work with mild to moderate drug problems, but will not work with severe drug, sexual, or psychological problems, or substantial physical aggression. Certain types of insurance plans will cover this program.

EFLSP is an outgrowth of work carried out for the last 30 years by psychology professor Dr. Paul Robinson, based on the philosophy that more effective treatment could be provided by having problem youth live with the psychologist on a 24 hour a day basis. Hundreds of youth have lived in Dr. Robinson’s home, with treatment essentially an ongoing process where problems and issues were worked on throughout the day. Dr. Robinson took these children into his home because he felt teenagers couldn’t hide their problems when they are actually living with the psychologist. EFLSP now provides personalized treatment for six to twelve youth at a time in the treatment center, where the staff-youth ratio never exceeds three youth to one staff member.

“EFLSP implements an extended family model treatment system rather than the typical dormitory style model used by most programs where the children spend most of their time interacting with each other and telling each other who knows what.” EFLSP facilities are houses where co-eds live in separate quarters with two sets of parents who provide for round-the clock supervision. The host parents are like “aunts and uncles.” All activities are centered around the family model where the teens do most things with the house parents involved. EFLSP’s ranch setting emphasizes traditional values of family, work, education, and respect for others.

EFLSP offers three different levels of treatment:

Track A is for youth with problems in the higher range of severity, who typically take two to five medications per day, require close monitoring and supervision, two to three additional individual therapy sessions weekly, and weekly treatment program updates. These youth remain in this very high maintenance track from one month to a year.

Youth in Track B exhibit substantial noncompliant and disruptive behavior with parents and/or educators. These youth are under the supervised care of psychologists, on a level system where they move from a highly supervised daily routine to a level where certain unsupervised activities are allowed. The individual treatment plans are updated monthly. Youth may live at the treatment center or in a satellite residence, typically from three to twelve months.

Track C, for defiant youth not requiring much psychological therapy, offers placement in satellite residences with parents trained and supervised by the program psychologists who implement behavior modification techniques in a closely monitored family type setting. Youth typically stay six to twelve months.

EFLSP’s is located on 14 acres in a rural setting adjacent to the city of Spanish Fork, approximately 50 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah. Facilities include the main treatment building, a residence, a 3,000 sq. ft. horse training building, and two support buildings for life skills training. Educational opportunities include the local public schools or home study with a teacher. EFLSP is owned and operated by mental health professionals who have had problem youth living with them in their homes with their children.

Copyright © 2000, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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