Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you learn more about RedCliff Ascent’s wilderness therapy program. As always, we welcome your phone calls and are happy to provide you with additional information specific to your family. Please call us at 801-921-8488.

The best way to describe our students is good kids who are making bad decisions. RedCliff Ascent is especially helpful to troubled teens who may struggle with a variety of emotional and behavioral concerns, including:

  • Adoption Issues
  • Anxiety
  • Attachment Issues
  • Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Compulsive Disorder
  • Depression
  • Emotional Disorders
  • Failure to Launch
  • Family Issues
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD )
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD )
  • School Refusal
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Trauma

RedCliff Ascent is located in Enterprise, Utah, a small town in the southwest corner of Utah in the western part of the United States. We are 2.5 hours north of Las Vegas, Nevada and approximately 4 hours south of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Unfortunately, there are no scholarships. Our admissions team can give you information about companies that offer educational loans.

Medical insurance typically does not cover the cost of the program. This is because our license is as an Outdoor Therapy Program. Most insurance carriers cover residential treatment only. Since our students are outdoors throughout their stay, we do not meet the criteria for residential treatment. Some insurance providers will cover the cost of therapy sessions only. Because of this we will be happy to help you work with your insurance company to determine any available benefits.

Medicaid will not cover the cost of the program. Generally speaking, Medicaid uses only providers that have contracted to provide services within your specific state. Please check with the appropriate state agency for a list of providers in your area.

The State of Utah Department of Human Services licenses and regulates us. We are also an accredited member of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) and the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH).

No, your student does not need an official diagnosis. Psychological and neuropsychological testing can be done while the student is enrolled.

No, however, costs for psychological and neuropsychological testing at RedCliff Ascent are very competitive and prices will vary depending on which testing options are selected. These charges are typically about half the cost of a hospital administered evaluation. Some of the best in the industry provide these tests.

No, testing recommendations are made on a case by case basis at the discretion of the therapist assigned to your student. Sometimes referring professionals such as private practitioners or educational consultants may also recommend testing. The completion of psychological evaluations are completely up to the parents or guardians.

Families agree to a 30-day minimum stay. The average student stay is 80 days. But some students will stay longer, depending on how quickly they respond to therapy.

Yes. By design, their wardrobe and gear are for their protection and safety, regardless of the weather conditions. Emergency shelters are available in our field in case of extreme weather conditions.

Students eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in fat and sugar but high in carbohydrates. A registered dietician developed this diet. It is based on principles taught by Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Walter C. Willet in his book, “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy.” RedCliff Ascent students eat rice beans, meat, cheese, lentils, trail mix, fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices. They do not have any carbonated or caffeinated drinks during their stay.

RedCliff Ascent is not a deprivation program. Food is never withheld from students. A hungry child is unable to focus on therapeutic issues.

Students hike an average of 15 miles per week, sometimes more, depending on the physical fitness level of the group and whether or not there are new students in a group.

RedCliff Ascent students can earn up to three elective school credits while they are enrolled in our wilderness therapy program. 

If your child is currently attending classes, earning credits, and their behaviors are not placing them in harm’s way, you may want to consider a summer enrollment. Please call our admissions counselors at 801-921-8488 to discuss your options.

We provide all of the clothing and camping gear your child will need. Students also need to bring any prescribed medications. If they wear contacts they will need a pair of glasses. Please also send any orthodontic appliances they wear. When they complete the program, students keep all of their gear.

Due to our remote field location, telephone calls are generally not permitted. If your child’s therapist recommends it, your child may occasionally be included in a family therapy session via satellite telephone. Generally speaking, all correspondence will be by letter.

You and your student will exchange letters as frequently as you like. If you prefer, these letters can be scanned and then emailed to you by your child’s therapist. The therapist can also scan and print your letters to be read to your child. If you choose, you may mail your letters via postal services.

You will receive specially designated envelopes in which to put your letters to your student. All of the mail for your student must come in one of those envelopes or it will be returned. We also have an internet parent portal on our website where we post new pictures of your child each week. We will give you a login and password for the parent portal. You will only see pictures of your child and no one else. No one else will have access to your child’s photos or information.

You and your student’s therapist will arrange a convenient time for you to speak with him or her at least once each week. You may email your child’s therapist anytime with any questions or concerns.

There is a journaling activity called The Parent Narratives that you can complete. This coincides with assignments your child will be working on while in the field.

Parents are welcome to personally transport their student to Utah. However, many families fear their child will try to run away before or during the trip. Most parents choose to hire a transportation escort company. These individuals are licensed, professional, and compassionate. They pick your child up from your home and personally accompany him/her to our office. Transport professionals will always use the least amount of physical restraint possible. They do not use force unless the child is a danger to himself or others.

Las Vegas, Nevada is the largest airport and is about 2.5 hours away from our headquarters. St. George, Utah is closer to us but is smaller and does not serve as many carriers. 

Yes. We prefer to receive an online application first. Then we can refer you to a parent who may be closer to you or have similar struggles. The online application is confidential, free, and does not obligate you in any way. It provides a snapshot of the issues your family faces at the moment.