Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Outback located?

The Outback office is located in Lehi, Utah — about 30-minutes south of Salt Lake City. The field area in which your child will be staying is roughly one hour southwest of Outback’s office — nestled between the Sheeprock and Simpson Mountain Ranges.

When will I hear from Outback regarding my child?

We make communication with you a top priority. From the very beginning, we will contact you as soon as your child arrives at our office. For the remainder of their stay, you will be able to write and receive letters and schedule weekly phone calls with your child’s therapist to track his or her progress.

When can I admit my child?

We conduct admissions Monday through Friday. Current students are encouraged to become mentors to the “new-comers” in the group, helping to create a positive peer culture. On a case-by-case basis, we are able to admit students on the weekends. Because it is not standard practice, we encourage you to contact our Outback admissions counselor for details. All students traveling by air must fly into Salt Lake City Airport by 2:00pm to be admitted to our facility that day. Again, if any special arrangements need to be made, please feel free to contact our Admissions Office.

How effective is the Outback Wilderness program?

Our nurturing approach has lead to overwhelming long-term success. Through ongoing relationships with after-care programs for troubled teens, referring professionals and families, we have found that our teen therapy program positively impacts our students’ lives all while living up to our reputation of success. Dr. Christensen conducted his dissertation research tracking the success of Outback teens in crisis before and after treatment in the teen therapy program. Dr. Christensen found that students’ average rating upon admission was nearly 30 points outside the mean score for a healthy, normal population, whereas at discharge and for subsequent months thereafter, he found the students’ average scores fell well within the healthy, normal range.

Is there a doctor or nurse on staff?

We have both a licensed doctor and an EMT on call 24/7 to care for your child should they need medical assistance. Our EMT also visits the field on weekly basis to ensure your child’s physical health.

What does Outback do in the event of a medical emergency?

Should your child experience a medical emergency, Outback is fully prepared to provide top-of-the-line care. Every group has at least one Wilderness First Responder certified field instructor. Should an issue arise that is outside the training of our own team members, we have a 24/7 emergency response system that consists of both a designated emergency vehicle, and a well-trained staff that is always within a 30-minute drive of our students. We have also partnered with Life Flight, an air ambulance that is readily available should one of our students need to be airlifted for the 20-minute flight to Provo Hospital, the nearest medical facility.

Have there been any recent injuries or deaths at Outback?

There have been no deaths or serious injuries in the history of Outback Therapeutic Expeditions. We take exhaustive measures to protect your child from harm.

What does my child need to bring?

Outback Therapeutic Expeditions will provide all clothing and gear necessary during your child’s stay, so we ask that parents provide only the following for their child:

  • Prescription medications (minimum of three day’s worth)
  • Prescription glasses, as we request that contacts are not to be used
  • Retainers and cases

What is the average length of stay at Outback? How is it determined?

Due to the individualized teen therapy treatment each student receives at Outback, length of stay is determined on a case-by-case basis. As with many programs for troubled teens, the average stay is 10 weeks. The completion date is determined by the student’s progress with respect to treatment goals and outcomes, and is decided through the intensive communication between the Outback therapist, referring professionals and yourself. We make every recommendation with the sole intention of supporting your child’s success. The final decision, of course, rests upon you.

Can my child receive academic credit during their stay?

Yes, as a standout among programs for troubled teens, Outback is accredited through AdvancED (North Central), the world’s largest education community, which allows your child to earn high school credit during their stay. For more information on our educational program, please visit our academics page.

Will my child be involved with really tough kids?

Outback Therapeutic Expeditions works with teens in crisis between the ages of 13 and 17 who have experienced issues such as learning difficulties, self-esteem issues, depression and substance use, and does not work with extreme cases such as sex offenders, violent, gang-related, or actively suicidal teenagers. Every student’s application is reviewed by the clinical review board, and the group and therapist are chosen based on the presenting issues.

How does Outback work with difficult kids?

We never have, nor ever will, adopt a “boot camp” style of treatment where we break teens in crisis down to build them up again. Instead, we practice building strong relationships of trust, and support your child through the process of change. This approach allows our highly skilled clinical team to utilize specific structures, assignments, and activities that help promote understanding and successful assessment of your child’s needs.

What is the cost to send my child to Outback?

At Outback, we have both a daily rate as well as a one-time enrollment fee of $3,500. To get current daily rate fees, please contact the Outback Admissions Office at 800-817-1899. There will also be a fee for a physical exam required upon admission.

Does Outback offer financing?

Yes! We have made it possible for our students’ families to receive financing options for those who qualify. To see if you qualify, click here. For more information, please contact our admissions director to get details on applications and processing. Outback Provider Number: 003958

Will my insurance cover the costs of sending my child to Outback?

Outback does not directly work with insurance companies, however we have seen many parents have success in getting either a portion (if not all) of their costs reimbursed by their insurance company. Outback is a short-term, intermediate, multi-disciplinary, intensive outdoor treatment program that is residential in nature. Depending on the terms of your insurance policy, reimbursement may be possible. For additional information on these and any other questions you may have, please feel free to reach out to an experienced Admissions Counselor at 800-817-1899.

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COVID-19 Update

Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is continuing to support families through this unprecedented time. We are closely monitoring information related to COVID-19, adhering to recommendations set forth by CDC, and have implemented additional safety precautions to mitigate risks. To learn more, contact us at 800-817-1899.