Adolescents Behavioral Health

Our behavioral health services for adolescents provides comprehensive mental health care in an environment conductive to growth, personal development and healing.

Programs & Services at Sandy Pines Residential Treatment Center

Adolescent Behavioral Health Services

Of SandyPines’ six residential units, five are dedicated to serving adolescents, ages 13–17. Our Dolphin, Manatee, Pelican, Seagull and Starfish units provide adolescent patients with a secure and structured therapeutic environment for them to build on existing strengths and learn new healthy strategies to improve communication, emotional regulation and socialization.

Our treatment team develops an individualized plan for each adolescent based on their needs and strengths. Their daily schedule may consist of participation in several clinical programs, including individual therapy, group therapy, activities therapy, substance abuse therapy and more.

Level System

All adolescent residents partake in our Sea-Faring Level System, which is designed to reward and incentivize appropriate behavior and progress. This system allows residents to see the progress they are making, while providing insight into their choices and behavior. Daily and weekly rewards are included into each level to provide positive feedback and motivation towards meeting treatment goals. The three levels are First Mate, Captain and Admiral. As residents progress through the levels, they will experience new challenges, expectations and rewards.

  • First Mate – Each adolescent will begin on the First Mate level. First Mates must have five or less behavioral warnings in order to earn the daily incentive and must earn the daily incentive three days per week in order to earn the weekly incentive.
  • Captain – Captains must have three or less behavioral warnings in order to earn the daily incentive and must earn the daily incentive four days per week in order to earn the weekly incentive.
  • Admiral – Admirals must have two or less behavioral warnings in order to earn the daily incentive and must earn the daily incentive five days per week in order to earn the weekly incentive.

Major behavioral infractions may result in being sent to “Dry Dock” for two or three days. While under Dry Dock rules, residents continue to participate in all scheduled groups and activities; however, they are not able to participate in the daily earned activity. While on Dry Dock, bedtime is 7:30 p.m., and the resident is to eat meals on the unit rather than in the café.

A Balanced Day Program

A Balanced Day (ABD) app is a digitalized behavioral management program built on an iOS platform. The application process is based on the practice of Operant Conditioning, specifically the principles of Positive Reinforcement. ABD integrates into the milieu of an inpatient psychiatric program or residential treatment center. The intuitive design promotes staff knowledge of behavior management principles (e.g., schedules of reinforcement, operationalizing behaviors; shaping of behaviors and positive reinforcement), enhances critical thinking skills with challenging patients, facilitates positive staff to patient relationships and reinforces patient participation in active treatment. ABD is one facet of an overall structured clinical program. Other key elements include, a robust and compliant schedule, clinical and evidence based driven group programming, and a collaborative treatment planning approach.


Students at SandyPines attend Riverbend Academy, our on-site accredited school under the jurisdiction of the Martin County School District. Our school building includes classrooms, a library, computer lab and smart boards in several school classrooms. Riverbend Academy also utilizes research-based interventions to meet each student’s academic needs.

Independent Living

Independent living skills training is provided for residents whose estimated length of stay exceeds 60 days and are either 13 years old and older in state custody or 16 years and older in their parent/guardian’s custody. SandyPines utilizes a standard curriculum titled “Moving Out and Making It” as a guide in facilitating independent living skills training. The residents are educated on topics including:

  • Emergency and safety skills
  • Education planning
  • Job seeking skills
  • Job maintenance skills
  • Legal awareness skills
  • Personal appearance
  • Money management
  • Food management
  • Transportation
  • Health
  • Community skills
  • Housing

SandyPines has guest speakers from various occupational entities to educate residents on career options and also facilitate mock interviews. Other organizations such as Planned Parenthood and Vita Nova collaborate with SandyPines to educate residents on additional topics of relevance and interests. Residents are assessed to determine their needs and life skills using the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Tool. Assessments are made within 30 days of admission and again within 30 days of being discharged. Ongoing assessments and treatment can be modified as needed.