15161 N. 400 East Road 
Flanagan, IL 61740


Terry Benge



Call admissions department for current tuition.

From the day a young man is placed in our program, our goal is to reintegrate him back into his home. Changing the way a youth thinks and providing treatment is not the same for all teens. A typical stay here is between six to nine months.

We are a faith-based, residential boarding school located in Flanagan, Illinois, approximately 2 hours southwest of Chicago. We offer a structured program in a farm setting for young men who are struggling with issues at home, such as substance abuse, family conflicts, or academic problems, and who need a new environment to help rebuild their lives.

A relationship-centered approach to treatment allows young men to grow intellectually, spiritually, and socially, enabling them to become more productive members of society. Students learn, firsthand, the results that positive behavior brings them. Each student interacts with staff and their peers in a caring and structured environment, enabling them to develop self-esteem, social skills, and self-confidence.

Salem4youth specializes in providing treatment to struggling youth who are placed in our program by concerned parents or loved ones. The young men we serve exhibit negative patterns of behavior over an extended period of time, such that they often act independently of the influence and control of their parents. Invariably, the disharmony and conflict that results from such situations make a positive home environment very difficult.

At Salem4youth, we understand the heartache and frustration that continued dissension within the family structure causes. Reconciling the shaken families of struggling teens through residential treatment and family counseling is our purpose. The program strives to lead both the young man and their family to the productive lives they were meant to live.

Most of the young men we care for are close to the beginning of a downward spiral of negative behavior and have not yet been in serious trouble with the law, or have experienced only minor legal problems, and whose parents are desperate for their son to receive help before it is too late.

Some of the behaviors that youth exhibit which Salem4youth is equipped to treat include: a short history of substance abuse, disregard for rules and curfews, sexual promiscuity, running away, body disfigurement, truancy, and plummeting grades. They may have shown hostility toward other family members, and/or have had frequent outbursts at home.

We are unable, however, to effectively treat young men who exhibit such behaviors as fire setting, chronic drug abuse, sexual perpetration, cruelty to animals, and violent behavior with weapons.

Salem4youth strongly desires to serve young men whose parents wish to enroll them in our program. However, as our program is equipped to serve some needs better than others, we reserve the right to evaluate each situation on a case-by-case basis and refer families to other facilities, if necessary.

While treatment is our first philosophy, academic education is a very important component in each young man’s daily schedule. Certified teachers, who provide daily classroom instruction, provide our student’s academic education. Salem’s school is computer-based using the Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum. This system allows our students to work at their own pace.

Athletics (competition between similar facilities) including: Basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, swimming, dodge ball
Extensive Equine program with heated indoor riding arena
Vocational program (Wood shop)
On-campus computer based school
Care and feeding of horses and cattle. Salem also has an apiary with 9 active hives.
Off campus activities such as Frisbee golf, ultimate Frisbee, fishing and swimming, 5k runs, attendance at local college athletic events, special movie or bowling nights
4H Club

Salem4youth uses a Biblical counseling approach with all youth. An essential element of this therapy is that each child needs to become involved in activities that support their individual and group counseling goals. Our aim is to weave together activities, counseling, teaching, personal relationships, and the involvement of parents to create an “arena” for positive change.

Individual Therapy
Each youth receives individual therapy from a Master’s level counselor at least once a week.

Group Therapy
Group therapy is held in each cottage at least three times a week and usually five times a week. Special treatment and specialty groups will also be held when there are youth to warrant such groups.

1. Located on a 100-acre campus
2. Three brick cottages licensed for 15 youth per cottage
3. Gymnasium
4. Equine Center w/ heated indoor riding area
5. Large heated maintenance and wood working shop
6. Large two story brick administration building
7. Ball field
8. Park area
9. City water with water tower
10. Corn, soybean and hay acreage

Salem4youth requires strong family involvement. Families must commit to being actively involved during their sons stay here. We expect parents to complete an appropriate parenting program.

Salem4youth is committed to changing and rebuilding the lives of young men. Salem combines an environment of Christian relationships with the end goal being to pave the road to reconciliation for adolescents and their families.

Salem4youth recognizes that the decision to place your son out of your home in a residential treatment center is one of the most difficult decisions a family can make. In addition the cost of residential counseling is significant for a family

The Ranch Program at Salem recognizes that the decision to place a child out of their home in a residential treatment center is one of the most difficult decisions a family can make. In addition the cost of residential counseling is significant for a family. Many families are unable to meet the monthly obligations out of their regular income and must look elsewhere for help. Some families dip into savings or retirement funds, while other may get financial assistance from their health insurance and/or local and state governmental agencies from which they may qualify to receive assistance. Others take second mortgages on their homes, refinance their homes, borrow from their 401K plans or life insurance, or ask extended families or their church for financial support.

Key Education Resources/Key Bank also realizes that paying for a treatment center is a significant financial commitment. An Achiever Loan is available to those who qualify to help families successfully manage the costs. The Achiever Loan offers terms that best meet a family’s needs. Apply on-line at

The Ranch Program also has a scholarship fund that is designed to fill in the impossible gaps after all possible resources have been exhausted. The Ranch Program does not offer full scholarships, nor is the scholarship fund large enough to fill every need for every family. These scholarships are based on verified financial need, demonstrated attempts to find additional support, and a commitment to make timely payments of the parental portion of the Financial Enrollment Agreement.

Salem provides around the clock staff supervision of our young men while in our care.

Equine Therapy

Salem Therapeutic Equestrian Program (STEP)

Salem has gained nationwide recognition for its innovative equine therapy program. Established in 1982, the Salem Therapeutic Equestrian Program (STEP) fosters a sense of purpose and responsibility among the residents that lead to feelings of caring and trust.

Designed by Salem’s certified equine therapist and horse trainer, the STEP program uses Arabian horses as a tool to develop emotional and social growth within the residents. Arabian horses offer the perfect combination of spirit, stability and loyalty, three qualities that have proven significant in forging lasting bonds between people. When these qualities are cultivated between a child and a horse, it can renew a child’s capacity to engage in meaningful relationships with other people.

Children participate in all aspects of the care of our more than 170 horses. In addition, the staff and residents train, show, and market horses to professional trainers and private owners alike, primarily for use in Class A competition.

The STEP program serves to bridge the gap between feelings of isolation and a sense of acceptance and self-worth, which eludes many troubled youth.


Christian Boarding Schools


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