Southwest Key Programs

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In depth look at the program components


The educational component is a state accredited program staffed by state certified instructors. In addition to the required core curriculum, educational programming includes: special education services, G.E.D. training, basic skills mastery or tutoring in formal academic subjects such as reading, science, social studies and math. Classes are structured on the basis of small group learning processes with an emphasis on one-to-one instruction. A computer lab is also used to compliment the teaching milieu and meet the highly individualized needs of the clients. When appropriate, one afternoon per week is allotted for school-related field trips such as visits to museums, libraries and cultural events for those students who have earned the privilege. Southwest Key places a tremendous emphasis on teaching youth not only how to read but to enjoy and value reading. This is represented by the youth-driven library selections, a special reading space within the facility, and designated reading time throughout each day.

Life skills and pre-vocational training also compose a major part of the educational component. Life skills training may include personal hygiene, sex education, first aid, shopping, budgeting, cooking, utilizing public transportation, leadership development, etc. The pre-vocational component is designed to provide the student with an awareness of options in the world of work. Activities focus on job seeking and job-readiness training, as well as finding and keeping a job and accepting responsibilities and criticism.

Clinical Services

Therapeutic services include individual counseling, family counseling, substance abuse counseling, psychiatric evaluation and counseling, sex offender counseling and group therapy. Counseling sessions and groups are facilitated weekly and cover a variety of topics and concerns. The Southwest Key treatment team meets monthly and provides a holistic treatment approach. Therapeutic members consist of a psychiatrist, clinicians, caseworkers, nurse, licensed chemical dependency counselors, sex offender therapist and teachers. The following page describes individualized services available to Southwest Key residents.


Individual counseling focuses on addressing each client's unique needs and identifying and utilizing strengths. Counseling sessions are facilitated by a Licensed Masters Social Worker (LMSW) or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and focus on enhancing the youth's level of functioning and emotional health. The residents' behavior and psychological needs are closely assessed and appropriate interventions are developed and employed to address treatment needs and eliminate barriers to change. The clinician assists the client and family with problems negatively impacting youth's emotional health, behavior and program performance. Various conditions of the family are explored to address these family issues.


Caseworkers assist clients with identifying positive alternatives, evaluating consequences, establishing and achieving goals, conflict resolution, behavior modification, and concrete needs. Caseworkers conduct initial assessments, facilitate re-socialization groups, develop individual case plans and serve as salient members of the treatment team.


A licensed psychiatrist assists residents with psychiatric and psychological concerns. The psychiatrist reports to the facility bimonthly and is available for 24-hour consultation. Medications are prescribed and adjusted based on need, and residents requiring psychotropic medications are closely monitored for pre/post behavior. The psychiatrist conducts psychiatric counseling, psychological evaluations and updates, as well as participating in the monthly treatment team meeting.


A licensed vocational nurse (LVN) provides medical information and support to Southwest Key Staff regarding medical issues impacting youth. The nurse provides initial and ongoing health screenings, and reports any symptoms of depression, disruptive behavior and adverse reactions with medications to the psychiatrist and clinician. Regular communication transpires between the nurse and teachers regarding the youth's academic progress, behavior and impact of medications in the classroom. The nurse trains direct care staff on administering non-prescribed and prescribed medications. The nurse also conducts medication log monitoring and youth medical evaluations.

Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor

A licensed chemical dependency counselor conducts a 16-week substance abuse education program. An intensive, multi-modality, comprehensive treatment approach is utilized to provide holistic health care for chemical dependents. Individual and group sessions are based on a needs assessment. Treatment plans are established for each resident receiving substance abuse counseling. Additional services include: individual and group counseling, prevention services, chemical dependency education, referral services and relapse prevention support.

Sex Offender Treatment Provider

A registered sex offender treatment provider conducts sex offender counseling. Residents requiring sex offender counseling receive individual and group therapy bi-weekly. Treatment consists of a three dimensional, multi-modal approach designed to help clients maintain behavioral changes by anticipating and coping with the problems of relapse. Relapse prevention teaches clients internal self-management skills, plans for an external supervisory, and provides a framework which a variety of behavioral, cognitive, educational and skill training approaches are prescribed in order to teach the sex offender how to recognize and interrupt the chain of events leading to relapse.

Family Services

Because one of our primary goals is to have client's return home following their residential stay, family work is a major focus of the program. Southwest Key believes strongly that the role of parents/ guardians must be addressed while the client is in the Residential Treatment Program and must continue as part of the aftercare activities. Clients are encouraged to maintain regular contact with parents/guardians. In the event that family therapy is deemed appropriate, Southwest Key staff provides counseling and refers parents to resources within their community. Crisis intervention services are available 24 hours per day while clients are on home visits, as well as during the aftercare phase of the program.