Eau Claire Academy Reviews, Cost, Complaints

Eau Claire Academy


eau claireEau Claire Academy Review

Located in the hills of western Wisconsin, Eau Claire Academy was founded in 1967 by Clinicare Corp. Ninety miles from Minnesota’s Twin Cities, this recovery facility specializes in helping children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17 overcome substance abuse. Eau Claire offers both outpatient and intensive inpatient programs, with an on-site school for children who are still completing their primary and secondary education.

Accommodations and Food

Operating out of a remodeled hospital, the 70-bed multi-program residential facility is situated in a forested residential area. Eau Claire reserves a 10-bed unit for both girls and boys with treatment, housing and a day school housed in one location. The dorm-like rooms are furnished with a bunk bed, two desks and two closets. There are a few single occupancy rooms for special circumstances (e.g. handicapped clients). Each floor has one large shared bathroom.

Eau Claire kitchen staff make an effort to be creative with food to satisfy the sometimes finicky appetites of young people. Breakfast items include breakfast pizza, breakfast burritos and warm and hot cereals. For lunch and dinner, items such as burgers, beans, traditional pizza and an array of fruit may be served. There is no official policy on sugar and caffeine, and kids are allowed to access vending machines on weekends.

A media room is equipped with a flat-screen TV and a video game system. Viewing times are structured and residents are permitted to watch TV for sporting events, the news or a scheduled movie. While no Internet devices are allowed at Eau Claire, kids can bring MP3 players and ear buds/headphones. Each unit has a phone available to residents, though a call list must be submitted ahead of time. Calls are limited to 10 minutes in length, but there’s no limit on the number of calls.

Treatment and Staff

Typically, clients who have completed a detox program elsewhere will recover at Eau Claire for three to six months, with daily group and weekly individual therapy. Eau Claire uses therapeutic methods such as CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing (MI) and EMDR for children with trauma issues. Residents typically have a co-occurring disorder, so the program is dual-diagnosis based.

Residents follow an individualized treatment plan that may include any of the following: emotional recovery, behavior adjustment, social skills, general health, educational and vocational support, life skills and risk assessment. The facility follows the 12 steps and there are on-site NA/AA meetings daily. While clients mainly attend in-house meetings, residents do occasionally attend off-site meetings and transportation is provided. If a client comes into this program without a sponsor, Eau Claire’s staff assists in helping the youngster find an appropriate individual.

The family program occurs twice a month, but some private-pay family therapy options are available weekly. If parents and/or loved ones cannot attend in person, phone and/or Skype conferences are made available.

Staff psychiatrists see residents once a month and more if needed. An on-staff nurse and a visiting physician take care of any medical issues.

Eau Claire’s substance abuse unit employs two counselors, with a staff-to-client ratio of one-to-five . Therapists are LADCs and there’s also a case manager who is a substance abuse counselor in training (SACT). The unit is staffed overnight to ensure the kids’ safety.

Days begin at 7 am and clients must be showered and finished with breakfast by 8:30 am when school begins. School is typically in session until 3 pm, with lunch served at 11:30 am. The kids then attend a group session followed by a physical activity such as swimming or golf off campus or an outdoor activity on campus. After dinner at 5 pm, youth have time to do step work and/or schoolwork. There’s always some time for socializing before lights out at 10:30 pm.

“Personal structure,” or free, time is roughly 45 minutes to one hour in the evening after dinner on school days, and in both the afternoons and evenings on other days. For exercise, residents participate in a “Fitness for Recovery” group that meets in Eau Claire’s small weight room once a week. Clients also have daily access to an on-site gym with basketball court. Swimming at the local community pool is arranged and yoga and meditation groups will be available in the near future.

For the first 30 days, residents are limited to on-site visitation. These visits are typically scheduled through the client’s counselor. After this time period, clients are permitted off-site at-home visits with their parent or guardian.

Within the residential treatment program, there is a special track for pregnant teens. It ensures that mothers-to-be receive prenatal education, medical treatment and parenting skills.

The outpatient program offers individualized plans that may include group, individual and family therapy. This track is often a continuation of treatment for clients who have completed the inpatient program.


Extra-curricular outings occur in the evening. Kids enjoy movie theaters, restaurants or just hanging out in a nearby park. In addition to the gym, Eau Claire has an exercise room, a game room, an arts and crafts room, and a volleyball court.

Eau Claire offers aftercare for up to three months after the client’s discharge from residential treatment. This service ensures that students are attending school, taking prescribed medication, continuing their treatment with suggested therapies, and following up on employment opportunities.

A resident therapy dog helps students with motivation, confidence, responsibility, depression and anxiety. Equine therapy is also available through a community center.

In Summary

Eau Claire Academy’s staff work very closely with young clients and their families and considers family a crucial piece of the recovery process. With the small client load, youngsters receive much-needed individualized attention. Ultimately, this program provides a safe, structured and enjoyable environment for adolescents faced with the challenges of addiction and recovery.

Eau Claire Academy Location

550 N Dewey St
PO Box 1168
Eau Claire, WI 54702

Eau Claire Academy Cost

$9,780 (30 days). Reach Eau Claire Academy by phone at (715) 834-6681. Find Eau Claire Academy on Facebook, YouTube and Google+

Do you have a complaint or review of Eau Claire Academy to add? Use the comments area below to add your Eau Claire Academy review.

Photo courtesy of GoogleMaps



  1. I was at this place when I was 15 I am now going on 49 they abused me physically as well as sexually from both other residents an staff please if she is still there get her out! They need to shut that place down they have been abusing kids for far too many years

  2. A pissed off parent on

    I would not send my child to this place or wish it on my worst enemy! My daughter spent 6 months here and came out WORSE off than she went in. The staff is horrible and although they promise your child will be “safe” they will not. My daughter managed to run away numerous times.. not being found till HOURS later.. sometimes LATE at night. She was forced to sleep on a rug in a hall way as punishment, being taken away all her goals she earned. It is more a jail than a home for kids.. as for “helping” the kids.. we were promised therapy not offered anywhere else.. and family therapy to help our daughter.. after 6 months.. we are yet to see this. My daughter has ended up in the hospital because she has tried to commit suicide.. she has been abused by other residents.. things have been STOLEN… she came home with a pierced nose (where was the staff?)… yeah… NOT safe at all .

  3. The Eau Claire Academy was a hell hole. The staff were very childish and picked favorites, they were physically and emotionally abusive, the other residents that were favored by staff were allowed to abuse other residents that were less fortunate. The food was not nutritious at all, the shower rooms and bathrooms had mold, the schooling was a joke. I got locked in a room smaller than a jail cell more than once. The so called therapy is a staff sitting there judging you for your past and telling you that you need to change and use your coping skills. This place needs to be shut down. I have been physically injured as well as many kids there of all ages by staff and other kids.

    • Thank you for your review. It helped me as a parent deciding what’s best for my daughter.
      I’m sorry you had this sort of treatment. This is NOT okay. Your feedback is great, but this should me more than feedback, it should be reported to the PD.

    • We all need to get together and sue the pants off that place. It’s time to bring what they did and are still doing to kids out into the light and to let others know what really happened and is happening at that place of hell

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