Value-Based Therapeutic Environment (VBTE) is our copyrighted, evidence-based model of care, certified by the Teaching Family Association and rated “promising” on, a federal database of juvenile justice programs that work.

Teaching children strong values gives them the best protection possible, and young adults who carry these values have the resilience to handle life’s most difficult challenges.

We offer a consistent approach to caring for children and teens. We train our staff and parents in a model of care that provides a common set of values, skills, therapeutic activities and intervention tools.

We look at the whole child. We work as partners with everyone involved in the child’s life—the parents, teachers, social workers, court counselors, and, of course, the child himself—to develop a thorough assessment and create a plan that builds on his strengths and addresses his needs.

We encourage young people to look within themselves for strength and to look outside themselves for meaning. We encourage their hobbies and creativity. We help them develop life skills. We connect them with mentors and get them involved with the wider community so they know they are valued and needed members of society.

We go to great lengths to recognize, reinforce and celebrate each child’s progress. A multi-tiered recognition system motivates and supports all the young people as they internalize the core values of honesty, respect, responsibility, empowerment, compassion and spirituality.

It all comes back to values—and to helping young people grow up strong, healthy, responsible and kind.


Model of Care: How It Works

Our Value-Based Therapeutic Environment (VBTE) model of care is a nonpunitive treatment model used in our residential and in-home programs to teach prosocial behaviors as alternatives to antisocial behaviors. To ensure a consistent approach in the treatment of youth, the VBTE model provides a common set of values, skills, therapeutic activities and intervention tools. It also takes an integrated approach to individualized treatment plans for youth that incorporates parents, teachers and court counselors.

The VBTE model has five treatment components:

  • Service planning, which provides a family and community approach to meet the needs of youths and their families
  • The skills curriculum, which provides staff with a teaching tool and promotes clear expectation and individualization for youths and their families
  • Learning theory, which promotes the understanding of individual youths and their behavior, which is critical to creating effective motivation systems
  • Motivation systems, which provide staff with a daily plan that supports the overall service plan, promotes therapeutic interactions, teaches and reinforces skills and implements principles of the learning theory
  • Therapeutic (focused) interactions, which provide youths with structured teaching and reinforcement based on each individual’s service plan and learning levels, and incorporates the motivation system that is modified for each youth

The five components are designed to complement one another and concentrate on the treatment and services provided to youths and their families. The success of the VBTE model relies heavily on the interactions between counselors and youths. Counselors teach youths that their behavioral choices are related to six values: respect, responsibility, spirituality, compassion, empowerment and honesty. Youths begin to appreciate and understand how their behavior affects those around them, and they receive consistent feedback from MHC staff about how to modify these behaviors.

FAMILIES FIRST is an evidence-based model of care that we use in our work with families in crisis. Also a Teaching Family Association-certified model, Families First helps youth and their families to move through six phases of skill building at a monitored pace that works best for them. It is systemic, structured, strength-focused and encourages healthy independence in behaviors and goal-setting.