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YSS Review

YSS provides treatment and prevention services to children, youth and families. There are currently three inpatient programs available through this organization. The Seven-12 House provides gender-specific residential substance abuse treatment to males between the ages of 13 and 17 years. Situated in the center of Iowa, both the Seven-12 House and the Youth Recovery House for females are in the city of Ames, just north of Des Moines. The newest addition to YSS, a residential facility for young men, is located a little further north in Mason City, Iowa.

Accommodations and Food

Both the Seven-12 and Youth Recovery Houses are 15 bed facilities, blocks away from one another in the historic district of Ames, Iowa. The structures are lovely, two-story homes with plenty of lawn space for outdoor activities. The Seven-12 House has five bedrooms: one with six beds, one with four and three double occupancy rooms. There are three full bathrooms upstairs and a half bath on the ground floor. The Youth Recovery House has five triple occupancy rooms.

Both facilities have a TV room, kitchen and counseling rooms on the ground floor. To keep things fair, residents rotate rooms every three weeks. Residents are responsible for washing their own clothing, including linens and laundry faculties are provided. Each resident is assigned a house duty and failure to complete tasks results in the loss of privileges. There is no smoking allowed, no cellphones, laptops or any electronic devices. There is no foul language, aerosols, products containing alcohol, hair dye or sharp objects.

Meals are brought in from a catering service, with the exception of weekends, when staff members assist clients in meal planning and preparation. Special dietary requests can usually be accommodated.

Treatment and Staff

Typical length of stay at YSS is from 90 to 120 days and clients must be fully detoxed when they arrive. The treatment model utilizes CBT and Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT). All residents have a primary counselor who they meet with weekly. During the week, clients have three hours of school per day followed by group sessions. Group topics include relapse prevention, sex education, anger management and a 12-step study. Recreation and exercise are also large parts of the weekly schedule. After one week clients can use the house phone but calls are limited to family members, with two outgoing and two incoming per week. Visiting is on Sunday from noon to 5 pm and also restricted to family.

After 30 days, at staff discretion, residents may go on day passes with their parents and eventually overnight outings. While family group is not a component of this program, parents and legal guardians are encouraged to make appointments for family sessions, which are scheduled during clients’ off hours. Residents in each house are taken to NA meetings three nights per week, with Saturday and Sunday evenings reserved for in-house movies.

The treatment team at YSS consists of CDACs and registered nurses, with a 24-hour staff on duty. The RNs monitor dual diagnosis clients on a weekly basis and supervise medication. There is also an on call psychiatrist if necessary.


Residents are taken to the local YMCA three times a week where they have access to a pool, basketball court and exercise equipment. Male clients train for local 5k races three mornings a week at Ada Hayden Park while the women train for local cycling races, including the nationally recognized RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). A yoga teacher also comes to both houses twice a month.

Youth and Shelter Services provides referrals to outpatient counseling, family counseling, foster care, after school programs and prevention services.

In Summary

YSS offers a valuable resource to families by providing gender-specific treatment for adolescents with substance abuse issues in Ames and Mason City, Iowa. Treating the boys and girls separately allows the clients to focus on recovery without the distraction of the opposite sex. All three inpatient facilities focus treatment on the needs of young people, making sure to integrate school, exercise and 12 step support.

Addresses undisclosed to protect client privacy.

YSS Cost Review

$13,975 (30 days). Reach YSS by phone at 515-233-3141 or by email at [email protected]. Find YSS Facebook

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Photo courtesy of Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)

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