Frequently Asked Questions
Is Building Bridges licensed?
Yes. We are proud to have been a part of the licensing process in Montana. Building Bridges was one of the first programs in Montana to be licensed and we continue to work with the licensing board to ensure all programs have appropriate guidelines to follow. Building Bridges is licensed through the State of Montana under the Board of Private Alternative Adolescent Residential or Outdoor Programs (PAARP). You may see our licensing status at the PAARP web site, here. We are also a member of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs.
What about your counselors? Are they licensed?
Absolutely. Each member of our counseling team is required to be a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC), and hold a degree in Psychology or related field. Under the supervision of our Director, Kurt Fairbank, who holds a Masters in Psychology as well his LAC and PCLC licensures, our counseling team takes great care in designing each student’s Master Plan. Building Bridges is proud of our counseling team and the incredible work they do.
Will my son attend a public school?
We want every one of our students to attend public school. We have carefully designed our program to provide each student the opportunity to benefit and grow from the experience of full enrollment in a public school. Our more senior students, those who are farther along in their program, act as mentors and guides, helping new students manage the challenges of reintegrating into a public school. We also closely monitor each student’s academic performance and interactions with his teachers and class mates to ensure that he is learning how to overcome past negative behaviors. Some of our newer students may not be able to attend the public school for a variety of reasons. In those cases, they will attend classes at our facility until it is appropriate for them to be enrolled in the public school.
How long is your program?
Building Bridges works with each individual based upon their individual needs. Some of our students progress through their program rather quickly, while others may take a while longer to make that progress. Our counselors and staff will work closely with each family to determine the appropriate expectations for each student’s length of stay.
Can I communicate with my son?
Each student is encouraged to write home as often as possible and to open up those important lines of communication. While letters are an excellent way to express feelings that may be difficult to do over the phone, having the connection of hearing a loved one’s voice is equally important. Initially, your son will have the ability to make calls home every two weeks, but as he progresses he may be able to make weekly calls. He can also earn internet privilege to send emails, post to social media accounts, and even video conference with family members.
Can I visit my son?
Family visits are an important part of our therapeutic process. Your son’s counselor will help you coordinate visits that have the greatest positive impact and offer the best opportunities for your son to demonstrate the growth he has experienced and practice important new skills in communicating with family members.
What about home visits?
Home visits are also an important part of your son’s therapy and recovery. These are opportunities for your son to truly put into practice what he has learned, in a familiar and sometimes challenging environment. The goal is to have your son find new, positive activities at home, to replace the negative activities and interactions he sought out prior to treatment. Your counselor will coordinate these home visits with you and provide you with the tools to best support and help your son during these visits.
How big is Building Bridges?
Our facility is located on five acres in some of the most scenic forested area in the pacific northwest. Our residential facility has two houses, each with its own kitchen, bathrooms, student and staff bedrooms, and living areas. With room for up to 24 total students we are ideally designed to blend the positive peer culture of a larger facility with the personal interaction only available in less crowded environment. Students in our program can easily find the privacy they desire for self-reflection, one-on-ones with their counselor or another peer, or simply to write a letter home. At the same time, they can also interact and get feedback from a larger group, providing the grounding that comes with such interactions.
What does the average day consist of at Building Bridges?
Over the regular school year, each day will have several different activities. Every weekday morning, the students have a morning group session, after which they will have breakfast and get ready for school. After school, the students come back to the residence and have some free time to complete homework or work on their Master Plan before dinner. After dinner there is a different activity each night, from group sessions, to meetings in town, to community activities, such as basketball at the school gym. The weekends are broken up into a work therapy day on Saturday, followed by a movie that night, and a recreational therapy day on Sunday, which could include paint ball, softball, going to the gym, or going skiing at one of the local resorts.
Selecting a Program
The organizations below have helpful information for parents to understand the different types of programs available, and how to make an informed decision for which one may be best for your family.