How can I support my teenaged son after being in residential treatment for offending behaviors?


Dear Stop It Now!,

My adolescent son will be returning home after having spent two years in residential placement where he received treatment for sexual offending. Do you have suggestions or resources that can help us during his transition back home?*

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Dear Concerned Parent,

Planning and preparing for your son’s transition back into your home and community is vital to helping him succeed, and can be done in a safe and healthy manner. To be successful in this process, you can’t do it alone. You’ll need the involvement of trained professionals and other adults in your son’s life such as teachers, doctors, other family members, etc.

It’s important to look to your son’s treatment center for safety planning guidance that is tailored especially to your son, and to find community resources and professionals that will be available to all of you. Asking questions of the treatment facility now, before re-entry, is important. If you do not already know, find out how your son has responded to treatment and what type of safety planning has been done.  What kind of structure and supervision do they recommend? What kind of relapse prevention plan has been set up? Was there treatment specifically on developing healthy social skills and safe relationships? Can they help you locate services in your own community?

It would be helpful to find out if wraparound services are available. The Center for Sex Offender Management describes these as services to surround youth with a range of needed services in the community, ideally to prevent them from requiring a residential or institutional placement. Generally speaking, with the wraparound approach, a case manager is responsible for identifying and brokering needed services for the youth and family. The case manager also tends to assume supportive, mentoring, and accountability or supervisory roles.

Also, talk to your son. What can your son tell you about his safety plan for being in the community? Can he tell you what his triggers are and how he plans to ask for help when he feels triggered? I also suggest that you take a look through the archives of ParentTalk, Stop It Now!’s newsletter for parents with children who have sexual behavior problems, to learn how other parents have faced similar challenges.

Many families are able to successfully move forward after their child has been in residential treatment. With your help, your son will have the opportunity to live a healthy, safe and happy life.

Take care,
Stop It Now!

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Last edited on: November 6th, 2018