Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge: Frequently Asked Questions

How will I communicate with my son while he is in Teen Challenge?

  • Students have scheduled weekly phone calls home on Thursday and Sunday evenings.
  • The frequent exchange of letters is encouraged. Your son will have supplies and time to write home, also.
  • Each family is also assigned a Parent Contact, a staff member who will contact you with bi-weekly updates and answer any questions you may have.
  • Detailed monthly progress reports are also sent to each parent/guardian.


How will I get my son to Teen Challenge?

You are ultimately in control of deciding what is best for your son’s care and we can work with you on options for transporting your son here safely and without incident. Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge does not provide professional transport services, but you may contact our preferred provider, Venture Transport Services, at 913-777-1675.

Admissions always take place on Mondays at 1:00 pm EST. A reliable GPS will bring you directly to our center without trouble using our address: 9302 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, Virginia 23601.

Here are some tips for getting your son to Teen Challenge:

  • Write a letter.   Several of our parents have told us writing a letter to their son explaining what is happening has worked for them. You could give this letter to your son as you are driving, and ask him to read it completely before responding.
  • Pack everything.   Get ready ahead of time. Leave early in the morning. “Everything is packed and we’re taking a trip” should be enough to get a groggy teenager moving. Most transport companies will require a 4 a.m. or earlier departure from home.
  • Bring friends.   Often families arrive with a youth pastor or neighbor to assist in transporting their son.


Can my son be sentenced to Teen Challenge, rather than jail?

People often petition the court to rule in favor of sentencing their son to Teen Challenge instead of jail. It is imperative that when the courts are petitioned to do this that it is clearly communicated that Teen Challenge is a faith-based program and that Christian, Biblical principles and practices are fully integrated into our mentoring programs.

If needed, we can provide you with a letter to give to your prosecutor, defense attorney, or judge to use in such a petition.


Why does the adolescent program cost so much more than the adult program?

Adolescent Teen Challenge centers are under greater restrictions and legal oversight, which limits their fundraising activities. They must also provide more specialized services, such as year-round secondary schooling. This, among other factors, requires that a fee be charged. In most cases, the fees charged do not cover the actual costs of the services provided.

Additionally, adult Teen Challenge centers offer “micro-enterprises” to their residents which allows them to earn income while enrolled in the program. These opportunities, such as thrift-stores, craft making, and more, are not options for the teenage boys at our center who are in year-round school and subject to child-labor laws.


If our son is discharged or we withdraw him, can I get my money back?

  • Admission fees are non-refundable.
  • An entire month’s tuition is due for any month with at least one day enrollment in the program.
  • Refunds will only be made for whole months of pre-paid tuition that the student was not enrolled. Thus, if you pay for July and August, and your son is withdrawn July 6th, you will only receive a refund for August’s tuition.


Will my son have to participate in the religious aspects of the program to receive help?

We give full disclosure to every family who enters Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge that this is a Christian boarding school for boys. Entrance into all Teen Challenge programs are voluntary, and part of that voluntary agreement include participation in all aspects of the program, including the religious aspects of the program.

That said, progress through our program for troubled teens does not require that the student have any particular religious experience, however, it is highly unlikely that he will not. Most of our students give their lives wholeheartedly to Jesus Christ, as all of our students are encouraged to do.


Why is Teen Challenge effective?

While many think it is the combination of both the length of the program (12 months) and the faith-based environment that helps people to overcome life-controlling problems, we believe it is “the Jesus Factor.” We believe that when people develop a relationship with God, everything changes for them. This means that new priorities, attitudes, reactions, plans, and goals in life all add up to cause real change. A new life in Christ and incorporating Biblical principles for daily living replace the old lifestyle, attitudes, and behaviors.


Is Teen Challenge a medical program?

No. Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge is a Christian rehabilitation center. We rely on the teachings of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the study and practical application of Biblical principles to be the transformative component of our substance abuse treatment. While we recognize psychological and medical expertise to address many of the issues of addictions, we approach these issues from a spiritual perspective.

It is because of this that most insurance will not cover the cost of Teen Challenge. Various states, school districts, judicial systems, and even some insurance providers may be willing to provide funds to pay for the program, but you will need to determine this on your own. Most families pay for Teen Challenge without the help of their insurance provider.


When will I be able to visit my son?

Family Weekends happen at Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge every two months, and are a time of much healing and encouragement for parents and their boys. Families may plan for Family Weekend to begin every odd-numbered month on the third Friday. The Family Weekend schedule will look something like this:

  • Friday Afternoon
    • Family counseling sessions begin
    • Graduation ceremony at 7:00 p.m.
    • Boys who have earned weekend passes are dismissed
  • Saturday Morning
    • Family counseling continues
    • Activities for families
    • Lunch
  • Saturday Afternoon
    • Activities continue
    • Parent groups meet (role playing, family strengthening exercises)
    • Cookout
    • Families dismissed for evening.
  • Sunday
    • Attend church together as a group (usually in Hampton or Newport News)
    • Boys with passes dismissed for lunch with families
    • All other boys and families have lunch at Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge
    • Good-byes


Will my son be able to graduate from high school?

Boys who are Juniors and Seniors in high school may be able to complete enough school work while at Teen Challenge to graduate with a diploma from our academy. This is a regular diploma, not a G.E.D. It is our hope that most boys will be able to get their education on track, take advantage of all our academy has to offer, and earn a diploma.

The academy operates year-round, so there is ample opportunity for a junior or senior to earn his high school diploma.


How will my son continue his education?

At Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge we have our own small, private academy that uses the “Ignitia”curriculum from Alpha Omega publishing. This provides us with a hybrid approach to learning that combines the robust, high-quality curriculum of Ignitia with live teachers in our classroom. Students receive their lessons online, with instruction and guidance from live teachers in the classroom.


How long is the program?

MATC is a minimum 12-month residential program. We do not offer a shorter experience. We are able to offer additional months (up to 15 total) for students who may need help transitioning back to school or other experiences beyond the program.


What ages do you accept?

We receive boys from age 12-17. A boy may turn 18 while in the program and continue as long as he has high school coursework to complete. We do not accept students on or after their 18th birthday.


What is the cost of the Teen Challenge residential program?

The cost to families for the Mid-Atlantic Teen Challenge program is $3150 per month. This is the lowest price that we are able to offer for 24 hour residential care, food, shelter, and programming. In fact, were it not for the generous support of our many donors, churches, and ministry friends the cost would be much higher. Many families look to relatives, neighbors, and friends for assistance paying tuition.