Forest Heights Lodge
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Forest Heights Lodge is a program we believe every therapeutic school or program in the country should study and probably emulate.  Forest Heights Lodge serves boys between five and fourteen years of age (although pre-adolescent boys at time of admission are strongly favored).  However, it is not just a model for serving very young boys, but has lessons for all ages and both genders.  No, we don't think every therapeutic service should be a carbon copy, but there are some principles  applied at Forest Heights Lodge that we believe should be nearly universally applied.  

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FamilyLightsm is an educational consulting firm specializing in work with families with a young person with behavioral, emotional or psychological difficulties.  We offer in-depth personal guidance to families on a fee basis and free guidance on the internet. FamilyLightsm attempts to be fully objective and accepts no advertising nor referral fees.

Some of these principles (that we believe should be universal) are:

         Treatment and intervention is relationship based.


      The most important relationships for each child are with the people who spend the most time with that child.  In general, these are the front line workers, not the therapists.


            The Lodge conveys the message at all times in speech and action, "We will take care of you and keep you safe, physically and emotionally. When you are not in control we go to you; we do not isolate you." (While Forest Heights Lodge applies this in all situations, as is appropriate to their population, we believe time out and separation can be appropriate at some times for some populations. We also believe that isolation is generally overused and that Forest Heights Lodge's approach would be more appropriate in most situations where isolation is actually used)."


It is also fascinating -- Is "fascinating" the best word? -- that the daily charges at Forest Heights Lodge -- one of the most intensive mental health services anywhere -- are over $100 per day less than most other quality treatment programs.  If Forest Heights Lodge can do with such great quality what they do, I must wonder why others charge what they charge. 


Forest Heights Lodge places its basic principles on its web site. The principles are simple and profound.  They are designed to promote a sense of safety and to develop relationships as the core of treatment.  Ray Curtis' article on discipline illustrates how the principles interact with the culture of the school. We also discuss Ray Curtis and Forest Heights Lodge in our Guidelines for Basic and Core Issues.


Ray's article on discipline is a simpler article than some others.  That is because it is extremely hard to put the warmth and joy and love of this facility (and of Ray personally) and its staff into words.   But if this facility were the role model for all residential treatment, we would have a far superior mental health system. 

Official web site of Forest Heights Lodge

Forest Heights Lodge Search Post  (Members' Area)

FamilyLight Search Function

Mention of Ray Curtis and Forest Heights Lodge in our Guidelines for Relationships

Mention of Forest Heights Lodge in our Positive Intervention Guidelines

Return to Individual School and  Program Index

Links of interest:


2006 visit by Lon Woodbury

2002 visit by Loi Eberle

Discipline as Supportive Control -- An article by Ray Curtis, Director of Social Services at Forest Heights Lodge


Feedback is invited. We will publish any feedback in good taste from Forest Heights Lodge and will publish selected feedback from other sources. Email:

Disclaimer: No  program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation.  When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree.  When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source.  We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance.  It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines.  Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.

Last updated  4-14-09 (minor edits on 1-7-2012, but main text was not updated at that time); Links added 12-15-09


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