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National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs joins CARF International’s IAC

NATSAP is a key partner in accreditation offering advocacy, resources for struggling youths and their families

February 24, 2022, Tucson, Arizona — The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) is the largest not-for-profit membership association in the U.S. dedicated to residential treatment centers, therapeutic schools, and wilderness therapy programs. NATSAP advocates and provides resources “for innovative organizations that devote themselves to society’s need for the effective care and education of struggling young people and their families.”

NATSAP member programs provide necessary treatment to thousands of youths experiencing mental or behavioral health issues. NATSAP requires members of its association to be licensed by their respective state agencies, and in 2020, announced the requirement that all members must be accredited by an approved accrediting body by June 2023. Any new applicants for membership must be accredited. This is a high standard to which all NATSAP members are held. Although NATSAP is not a licensing or accrediting entity, the organization is an advocate for its programs to adhere to these rigorous standards.

CARF’s Managing Director of Child and Youth Services Leslie Ellis-Lang said, “NATSAP adding accreditation to its membership requirements was a bold move; it emphasizes their commitment to struggling young people and their families and guides the way for quality therapeutic programs that highlight safety and focus on outcomes.”

Prior to the initiation of NATSAP, any ethical standards for the therapeutic field were set forth by the individual programs themselves, so it was a top priority of the founders to establish best practices and guiding ethical principles for these programs. NATSAP has been formative in ensuring that therapeutic services are overseen by qualified clinicians and that the effectiveness of treatment is determined by data-driven outcomes studies.

NATSAP’s conditions for membership, focus on outcomes-based treatment, and emphasis on collaboration among providers in the field make it an ideal candidate for CARF’s International Advisory Council (IAC), which comprises organizational and individual members representing the spectrum of health and human services. The IAC provides guidance on development of the CARF standards and input on issues affecting the fields in which CARF offers accreditation.

Over the past 13 years, the IAC has gained significant representation from child and youth services, with eight partner associations from the field joining. Diverse child welfare representation allows CARF to gather perspectives across the range of services available for children and families, including treatment of complex clinical and behavioral health conditions, youth self-advocacy, and monitoring of and response to public policy.

As focus in the child-welfare field evolves in areas such as evidence-informed service delivery, the changing needs of children and youth, and the relationships between providers and community resources, CARF looks forward to its new partnership with NATSAP to improve services for children and families.

2/24/2022 8:15:00 AM

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