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New Perspectives - Feb, 2002 Issue #90 

[This New Perspectives is an outdated article
about a school that has been closed.]

Brigham City, Utah
Scott Davis, CERTS Executive Director

The Bear River Residential Treatment Center is a program for teenage boys who are harder to place. They describe their population as the “tough guys” “who need a more intensive, structured and secure residential setting or who have a history of substance abuse, aggression, or high-risk activities.”

Bear River mixes traditional and recreational therapy, offering individual, group and family therapy. The recreational therapy is conducted by a licensed recreational therapist, and takes the form of a “comprehensive program designed to increase social skills, cardiovascular fitness, work skills, self-confidence, self-esteem, fine motor skills, and awareness of personal fitness needs.” Specific activities include horse care, riding, agriculture, theater, private music or sports lessons, snow skiing, games, fishing, rowing and rope courses.

Basic parenting principles are taught by means of a “comprehensive parent education program” that includes weekly family therapy, Parent Weekends at eight-week intervals and concurrent coursework for the parents. Bear River also provide an after-care program once the student graduates from the program.

This is the first “Certified Educational, Recreational, Therapeutic Schools (CERTS) program. A second CERTS facility, Kolob Canyon RTC, is scheduled to open March 1, 2002. CERTS presents a “CERTS Bill of Rights for Parents” with five points: 1) Good communication is a right, not a privilege; 2) Expect Smaller, More Intimate Programs; 3) Parental Involvement is Crucial to Long-Term Success; 4) Answering Parent Questions is a High Priority; 5) Expect an Excellent, Well-trained Staff.

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