The Great Plains Youth Regional Treatment Center is a facility for Native American youth between the ages of 13 and 17, with 18-year-olds taken on a case by case basis. Based in Mobridge in South Dakota on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Great Plains offers residential treatment for substance abuse with education services.
Started in 1998, Great Plains is focused on providing a safe and structured environment for young people to develop themselves without the use of drugs and alcohol. A CARF accredited facility, Great Plains is an outcome-driven program that treats clients using evidence-based methods in both group and individual therapy settings.
Accommodations and Food
The facility is a large building located on an expansive property on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation overlooking the Grand River. The housing is dormitory style, accommodating up to 50 clients at a time. The campus has plenty of open space for outdoor recreation. Clients are typically grouped four per bedroom depending on occupancy. Rooms are furnished with bunk beds and bathrooms are YMCA style with stall lavatories and showers.
The property has three main buildings—one serving as a living area, another as a school and recreation area and the third has offices where therapeutic activities are held. A communal laundry area is available for clients to wash their own clothing and linens. All clients wear uniforms that include sweatpants, a tee shirt and a sweatshirt. The uniform must be worn at all times.
The school building also holds the cafeteria where three meals a day are served. The food is healthy and balanced American fare with sweets available. While no energy drinks are allowed, clients may have a soda with their meals.
There are no cell phones or personal electronics allowed. While the facility does not have cable TV, there are occasions where residents watch staff-approved movies. The campus also features a large recreation area with a weight room, basketball court, volleyball court, air hockey tables and ping-pong tables. Since the facility is located directly next to the Grand River, clients often go on fishing expeditions and have picnics.
Treatment and Staff
In order to enroll as a client at Great Plains clients must be registered members of a federally recognized American Indian tribe. Upon arrival, clients are assessed by an intake counselor for their required level of care. Individuals who require dual diagnosis support receive additional care to attend to their specific needs. There are no detox services available but referrals are given as needed.
Average treatment length is 60 to 90 days, but is ultimately determined by the client’s dedication and motivation. There is a one-week orientation period where clients familiarize themselves with the flow and process of treatment at the facility. Clients are immediately placed with a LCDC and seen by a psychologist to create an individualized treatment plan. There is a multi-level system in place that dictates each client’s freedoms and their progress in recovery. All clients attend school during the day and treatment in the afternoons and evenings.
In the morning, clients eat breakfast and then immediately attend school. The Chief Gall Education Program is designed for clients to undergo treatment and still receive credits for school or their GED. Ensuring a successful transition back to their regular school environment, residents receive education in a traditional classroom setting from 8:30 to 11:40 am. Lunch is served afterwards. The Chief Gall program also offers multiple standardized tests, a career planning portal and the chance to participate in Native American cultural activities. Cultural education and appreciation, arts and crafts, music and hide tanning are some of the activities facilitated during school hours.
After lunch, clients engage in organized therapeutic activities. Group therapy is the main mode of treatment, drawing clients together in a peer-supportive environment. Based mainly in 12-step principles and evidence-based practices, residents are given the opportunity to identify their causes and conditions for using substances. Groups include open process, anger management, relapse prevention, codependency and psychoeducation topics. Up to three groups are attended each day and one or more individual therapy sessions per week. For clients with co-occurring disorders, the treatment details and frequency may be adjusted to facilitate the appropriate conditions for change.
Twelve step meetings are held on-site Tuesday and Friday evenings. AA/NA, Ala-teen and Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings are available off-site. Community church activities may also be accommodated on Sundays for clients. Clients are encouraged to work the steps to the best of their ability under the guidance of their counselors.
A family program is available at Great Plains that focuses on the education of the family unit. Facilitated by a MFT, clients and their families meet for Family Days—a two to three day program. The therapist works with the whole family system on communication and dynamics while touching on codependency and facilitating a healthy home environment for recovery. Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings are held in addition to parenting skills classes.
The Great Plains Youth Regional Treatment Center offers their young clients the opportunity to start their recovery process in a safe and structured environment. With year-round schooling, recreation and therapy, clients stay on track while receiving the substance abuse treatment needed at no cost. Through the Indian Health Services and the Department of Health and Human Services, families and their loved ones may access services on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
Great Plains Youth Regional Treatment Center
PO BOX 680
Mobridge, SD 57601
Great Plains Youth Regional Treatment Center Cost: Free (60 days). Reach Great Plains Youth Regional Treatment Center by phone at (605) 845-7181. Find Great Plains Youth Regional Treatment Center on Facebook
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