Mission Teens, Inc. is a Christian nonprofit organization that provides co-ed residential treatment for substance abuse at 18 locations around the country. Mission Teens was created in 1969 by the late Reverend James D. Bracken, who opened the first facility in Norma, New Jersey. Bracken saw there was a need for help for the troubled young people who were attending his prayer meetings. He created the program still used today in all of the Mission Teens centers. While its original focus was on young people, the organization has expanded and today Mission Teens exclusively provides addiction services for adult men and women.
Accommodations and Food
Each Mission Teens location is unique but typically, there are between three and four clients in each gender-specific, dorm-style, furnished bedroom. Cigarettes, tobacco, e-cigarettes and other nicotine products are prohibited. Outside food and drinks, except for gum and wrapped candy, are also forbidden.
Residents eat three daily meals served family style. There are a variety of food options available including a vegetable, protein and starch with each meal. Clients take turns working in the kitchen with meal prep, serving and clean up.
Treatment and Staff
To confirm that they are a good fit for the program, new clients at Mission Teens must agree to initial blood tests, and a pregnancy test for women, before moving in. Incoming residents may also be required to have a return ticket home (or the equivalent) to be used in the event that they are asked to leave. Mission Teens does not provide detox but can offer referrals to local facilities if necessary. Those with co-occurring disorders must be stable and bring at least a 90-day supply of any prescribed medications, as access to outside appointments (except in the case of emergency) is limited. However, only non-addictive, non-narcotic medications will be permitted. Those on Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) are not admitted. After an initial blackout period where outside communication is not allowed, phone privileges to call family members are granted, based on a clients’ progress in the program.
The Mission Teens program is divided up into four phases, each lasting between two to four months, with the maximum stay being about 16 months. Clients are expected to keep to a strict daily schedule and with each phase, privileges increase. The first phase is a two-month induction period with very few privileges or responsibilities. Each new resident is simply expected to learn to follow the rules and participate in five and a half hours of Bible study each day.
The next two phases maintain the same rigorous schedule of Bible study but add some general household responsibilities like cleaning and kitchen chores. There is also an increase in privileges, including phone calls and visits from immediate family, pastoral or legal counsel only—no friends are allowed to call or visit. In the final phase, the residents act as peer mentors for newer clients. This phase is considered “counselor training” and senior residents are expected to be a good example in the house and give back to the organization.
Everyone is expected to obey the house rules and follow the schedule. Infractions of the rules or schedule are corrected with writing assignments, loss of privileges or extra work chores. Upon completion of the program, the person may be offered an additional ten to 12 month staff-training program and possible placement as a counselor at one of the Mission Teens locations.
The team at each location includes a program director, interns and Christian counselors.
Mission Teens does not charge for services or receive any funding from the government. All financial support comes from individual donors and non-denominational churches. While the program is free, clients are expected to work off their hours by providing volunteer services in the community.
Mission Teens is a highly intensive program for clients seeking a strong Christ-centered approach to addiction. Clients seeking closely-supervised dual diagnosis support or clinical evidence-based treatment, this is probably not a good fit. But for those seeking a life change through faith-based counseling and a strong peer community, Mission Teens could be a perfect choice.
Mission Teens, Inc.- Main office
PO Box 131
Glendora, NJ 08029
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