Top 10 Best Therapeutic Schools in California

California is a state in the Western United States, located along the Pacific Coast. It is the third largest state in the United States, It was admitted as the 31st state of the union on September 9, 1850.

The educational system in California consists of public, NPS, and private schools in the U.S. state of California, including the public University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges systems, private colleges and universities, and elementary, middle, and high schools.

In this article, you will learn about the top 10 best therapeutic schools in California. If you have a child who is having emotional, social, academic, or behavioral problems, you need a disciplined and encouraging environment, which is what therapeutic boarding schools in California are made to offer.

Therapeutic Boarding schools in California provide a variety of vital support systems to deal with mental health and well-being. Teenagers with a variety of issues can receive successful treatment at therapeutic schools in California.

Troubled Children are not cursed, nor do they signify that they will never achieve genuine success, all that is needed is sending them to a good therapeutic boarding school. And there are a couple of good therapeutic schools in California.

If you’re a parent of a troubled child looking for the best therapeutic schools in California, we are here to help and we hope you may find and select one of these schools from this article.

Top 10 Best Therapeutic Schools in California

The following are the top 10 best therapeutic schools in California:

  • New Dawn Day Treatment School
  • Mardan School
  • California Family Life Center
  • La Cheim School
  • Visions Treatment Center
  • Plumfield Academy
  • River View Christian Academy
  • Journey Academy
  • Asheville Academy
  • Sunset Bay Academy

#1. New Dawn Day Treatment School

New Dawn is a school that offers intensive mental health support for students with social and emotional challenges requiring a small, therapeutic setting in order to access academic success.

New Dawn Treatment School is located in San Diego, California. New Dawn School serves students from 9th through 12th grade.

New Dawn School is a holistic and structured learning environment that supports the academic, emotional, behavioral, and social growth of students toward progress and skill mastery while providing intensive mental health services. This takes place through an integrated delivery of related services that lends itself to creating an instructional-centered setting with individual and consistent support throughout the school day.

These supports may include small teacher-to-student ratios, behavior intervention services, and intensive mental health therapy. Placement and services are diagnostic and targeted for specific outcomes based on assessed student needs through the IEP (Individualized Education Program) process.

Enrollment into New Dawn Treatment School is determined through the student’s IEP and assessment process.

Determination for the appropriateness of our site for a student is based on the student’s unique qualifying condition, the impact of this condition on the educational setting, the student’s responses to past and current interventions implemented through the IEP process, and the results of mental health assessments. All required documents per District policy are required upon enrollment.

Click here to visit the school website

#2. Mardan School

Mardan School is located in Woodbridge Village in the City of Irvine, California. They serve students with learning or social difficulties. Mardan is a private, non-profit school, certified by the State of CA, that has fulfilled a unique educational need in Orange County since 1962.

Mardan provides an alternative for students in Pre-K through 12th grade: from at-risk primary grade children just beginning to experience difficulties in a school setting, to high school youths seeking to attain their diploma in a smaller, more individually focused and supportive setting.

Marden’s distinctive therapeutic program is specifically tailored to nurture individual potential and create accessible opportunities for academic, social, and emotional growth.

The Marden School team of dedicated, caring professionals values the “whole child”, guiding social and emotional development as well as academic achievement, to help students find fulfillment in all aspects of their lives.

Click here to visit the school website

#3. California Family Life Center

California Family Life Center is a private, state-licensed, nonprofit agency. The organization was founded in 1983 and is located in Hemet, California.

The life center started with the development of special homes for at-risk youth and soon expanded with various programs to serve other abused, homeless, and needy children. The California Family Life Center provides a 20-bed girls ranch, several group homes for troubled boys and girls, foster homes for more than 100 children, and special assistance for about 200 children.

The mission of California Family Life Center is to offer safety, comfort, and healing to children who have experienced abuse and abandonment; to teach love and trust; to instill self-worth, values, and hope for the future; and by doing this, to help children who are caught in hopelessness and despair become kind and helpful members of the community.

California Family Life Center is prepared to take chances in providing services for young people, to advance, act bravely, and develop both personally and professionally.

Click here to visit the school website

#4. La Cheim School

La Cheim School is committed to creating a safe integrated academic and therapeutic environment that promotes healing, learning, and positive change. They believe that through warmth, empathy, and guidance combined with structure and limits, all children can heal, learn, and change.

La Cheim School is a private, nonsectarian program providing a caring, compassionate, and successful educational experience for all students.

Their small campus and small classroom sizes (with a maximum of 8 students), as well as a large number of skilled teachers and education support staff, ensure each student receives the individualized special education services they need to successfully complete their required educational coursework.

La Cheim School is located in EL SOBRANTE, California.

Click here to visit the school website

#5. Visions Treatment Center

The Visions Treatment Centers, which have locations all across Southern California, provide teens with peaceful surroundings where they may concentrate on their well-being while teams of doctors, therapists, and specialists treat a variety of diseases and conditions.

They take a comprehensive approach to every case and provide a range of programs across all of their campuses. Together, the sites of Visions Treatment Centers treat teenagers with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, co-occurring disorders, and other mental health conditions. Each facility has a unique focus.

With a focus on various teen mental health treatment programs, such as primary residential care, extended care, and private practice specialist clinics, each teen mental health treatment center serves families in Southern California. Visit any of the sites to learn more about our dual diagnosis and teen mental health treatment programs. Parents and teenagers are welcome.

Click here to visit the school website

Therapeutic Schools in California
Therapeutic Schools in California
Therapeutic Schools in California

#6. Plumfield Academy

Founded in 1964 by the parents of children with special needs, Plumfield Academy is a private school located in Sebastopol, California.

Plumfield Academy has developed into one of the most successful specialized education programs of its kind. For over 55 years Plumfield Academy’s dedicated team has helped boys build on their strengths and interests while encouraging growth and change in the social, emotional, and learning domains that most challenge them.

Plumfield Academy provides specialized education to boys with emotional, learning, and behavioral challenges. Our communication-centered behavioral program focuses on building social and academic skills within a comprehensive treatment environment. By defining individual needs and achievable goals, youth are provided a clear pathway for change as they learn how and why specific skills positively impact their lives.

Plumfield Academy provides individualized instruction for students in grades K-12. The program accepts boys between the ages of 5 and 13 at the time of enrollment.

Plumfield’s small class size of 3 to 6 students allows for individualized focus on our students’ social, emotional, and academic needs. Our educational professionals work collaboratively with parents and each student’s IEP team to maximize individualized academic and behavioral instruction.

Click here to visit the school website

#7. River View Christian Academy

River View Christian Academy is an accredited Private Christian residential boarding school for teen girls ages 12-17 struggling with negative influences or behavior.

A privately run, fully approved residential boarding school for Christians, River View Christian Academy was founded in 1993. In order to better prepare its pupils for the future, the school aims to educate them in all facets of life.

The boarding school helps students, ages 12 to 17, who have had academic difficulties because of unfavorable influences or behavior. Being in an environment that is structured with a predictable schedule is one of the most crucial elements of refocusing a troubled adolescent.

Student boundaries are important at River View Christian Academy. The high degree of staff and parent involvement is another factor in River View Christian Academy’s success over the past 25 years.

Click here to visit the school website

#8. Journey Academy

Journey Academy is dedicated to providing education and trauma-informed services to high school-aged youth experiencing emotional and academic challenges. They provide a safe, therapeutic environment specializing in a relationship-based approach that embraces each individual’s unique strengths.

Journey Academy is a private school located in Sebastopol, California. The school’s minority student enrollment is 78.1% and the student-teacher ratio is 8:1.

Through trauma-informed care, they help your teen form connections to self, others, and the larger community as a path to being a healthy person in this complex world.

Their goal is to help our students expand their capacities to cope in the real world, to grow academically, and to find confidence in their unique expression of who they are.

Click here to visit the school website

#9. Asheville Academy

Asheville Academy is a therapeutic boarding school serving girls ages 10-14 who struggle in their family system, schooling, or peer groups. This program specializes in relationship-based treatment, emphasizing high levels of family intervention, emotional safety, and healthy boundaries. Parents in need of a solution for their daughter should turn to them because their daughter can overcome struggles with behavioral and social issues at Asheville Academy.

Asheville Academy is one of the top therapeutic boarding schools for girls. At the certified therapeutic boarding school, Asheville Academy supports teenagers from California in making long-lasting changes.

The organization assists families from California and other states as well as countries worldwide.

Click here to visit the school website

#10. Sunset Bay Academy

Sunset Bay Academy is a Therapeutic Boarding School that focuses on preparing capable students for a better chance in life. It is located in San Ysidro, California.

Sunset Bay Academy is one of many boarding schools for troubled youth in California, they have over 15 years of experience in the treatment of risk behaviors and disorders affecting teenagers. They work with troubled teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 as a long-term residential treatment.

Sunset Bay Academy is the best alternative school for troubled youth who experience the following:

  • Poor frustration tolerance
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Aggressiveness or depression
  • Poor academic performance and low grades
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Bereavement of a loved one
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Low self-esteem
  • Substance abuse
  • Feelings of inadequacy due to being adopted

Click here to visit the school website

Are therapeutic schools in California accredited and licensed?

Therapeutic Boarding Schools in California are licensed and regulated by the State of California Health and Human Services Agency, specifically the Department of Social Services, under very strict standards, which makes it difficult for such entities to exist.


Being parents to a troubled child can be worrying sometimes. However, selecting a good therapeutic school for that child is a step to getting things better for your family. Through research, these schools have the most active and success-driven programs to offer to families in need of them. Visit the School Websites for more information. Good luck!


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