Manos House Reviews, Cost, Complaints
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Manos House


dars inc/manos houseManos House Review

Manos House, a service of Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Services Inc. (DARS), provides inpatient substance abuse treatment to adolescent males ages 14 to 21 who have been referred from the juvenile justice system. Located in Columbia, Pennsylvania, the facility is close to several 12-step meeting locations and outpatient programs. Detox is not available. Clients with a dual diagnosis can also receive therapeutic support here. After inpatient, Manos House offers a transitional living program.

Accommodation and Food

Manos House occupies a former Catholic convent, housing up to 50 residents on one floor; the other floor is devoted to the supervised independent living (SIL) residents. Treatment and housing are located in the same building, but in different areas. Some of the space has been converted into a music studio while another area is a room for Aggression Replacement Training. Residents also have access to the facility’s gym and are free to use the weights and exercise equipment during their free time.

The rooms resemble college dorms, each with two beds, a large dresser, desk, chair and closet. For those who have made progress in treatment, some private rooms are available as a reward. Seven communal bathrooms, each equipped with sinks, toilet stalls and shower stalls, are also available for clients to use. 

Manos House also has a self-contained, state-certified high school called Prospect Grove where residents can continue earning credits toward  graduation. Those who have dropped out of high school can study for and take their GED as Manos House has a licensed GED testing center. The school has a computer lab available for clients to use.

Incoming residents aren’t allowed to bring cell phones or other electronics to Manos House. Instead, they can use landline phones to call their families or probation officers. After the day’s therapeutic programming has been completed, residents are allowed to watch TV in the evening in the common areas. On weekends, residents have a little more time to watch TV, which is scheduled around outings.

Typical meals at Manos House include a hot breakfast with juice, fruit and milk; lunch often consists of pizza, hot dogs, burgers or chicken cutlets with salads; dinner includes offerings like lasagna, roast chicken or pork chops. If a client has allergy restrictions or religious dietary restrictions, alternative entrees can be provided. Sugar and caffeine are allowed, though their intake is limited.

Treatment and Staff

Clinicians use Motivational Interviewing (MI) for both inpatient and group therapy and treatment is based on the Stages of Change model. Each resident moves through a status system of levels from one to six, earning privileges and responsibilities along the way.

Residents can expect to live at Manos House for six to nine months if they are admitted to the traditional inpatient track. Those in the short-term inpatient track stay for three to four months. Clients who spend the full six to nine months in the program usually need more treatment, while the shorter-term tack is for those who have residents substance-related issues that may not be as severe.

Residents are offered a minimum of one session of individual therapy per week, though additional sessions can be provided based on need. There are five sessions of group therapy every week, along with Aggression Replacement Training. In the group sessions, clients participate in psychoeducation, which teaches them about the effects of drugs and alcohol. They also learn how to prepare themselves to move back out into school, work, home and society.

Residents are also exposed to the BARJ philosophy (Balanced Approach and Restorative Justice), part of which requires clients to give back to the community by performing community service

Manos House’s treatment isn’t 12-step oriented, though it does encourage clients to attend AA/NA meetings as they transition out of residential care. The facility also hosts 12-step meetings for any outside AA groups needing a space. Dual diagnosis support is available for those suffering from co-occurring disorders.

Family members are allowed to visit after the first two months. As clients move through the program they gain additional privileges, which range from in-house weekend visits with family and community service to home passes. Family members must be approved to visit by the client’s primary counselor.

A typical day begins at 6 am when residents get out of bed. Between 6 and 7 am, clients take morning meds, shower and eat breakfast. School goes from 7 am to 12 pm, when students break for lunch. School resumes shortly after lunch and ends at 2:15 pm, when group therapy begins. The first session runs from 2:15 pm to 3:15 pm while the second group runs from 3:15 to 4:15 pm (clients are assigned one of the two slots).

After that, residents have free time until dinner at 5 pm. There’s more free time after dinner before evening programming from 6:30 to 8:45 pm. This consists of watching a selected video and writing a paper. At 8:45 pm, clients return to their floors and get ready for bed. Lights out is at 8:55 pm.

Manos House employs six clinical staff members, three of whom oversee the SIL clients. The ratio of staff-to-clients is one-to-six. Staff members all hold CADC credentials and one is a licensed psychologist who works directly with residents. Overnight staff are on-site to make sure clients remain in their beds.

Clinical staff takes a hands-off approach if a resident begins acting out physically. Rather than physically restraining the resident, staff members stay with him for as long as necessary, helping him to regain control of himself.


Manos House brings artists, musicians and music producers to the facility to work with clients who are interested in creating art. Clients can also participate in music relaxation sessions, where they interpret music and explain how it makes them feel. Residents can also participate in extracurricular activities such as rock climbing, hiking or touring art galleries.

Family members who are interested in a family program can participate in family therapy along with their weekend visits. Once a month, they participate in family communication nights. Aftercare services are not available. Instead, Manos House refers residents to outpatient providers in their communities so they can continue receiving drug and alcohol treatment.

The program also has a quarterly Day of Giving that enables residents to give back to, and interact with, the local community.

In Summary

Manos House is a state-funded treatment facility whose school, GED program and music studio are added benefits for clientele, especially for those coming from less-than-ideal home environments. In all, DARS offers comprehensive care for adolescents.

Manos House Location

1290 Prospect Rd
Columbia, PA 17512

Manos House Cost

Free (state-funded). Reach Manos House by phone at (717) 285-0420. Find Manos House on Google+

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