Residential Treatment School for Girls in Niagara Falls

Admission Process

OUR TREATMENT TEAM UNDERSTANDS that finding the right program can be a difficult and confusing process for students and family members. We are here to make sure that you get the services you need.

We begin with a review of the student’s psychological, psychiatric, educational, medical, family, and social/emotional histories. Our team makes a decision to interview students and families based on this review as well as conversations with involved school, county, and mental health personnel.

We are always improving our collaborative relationships with other residential and hospital programs, so we may have recommendations for more appropriate programmatic services if we cannot meet your needs.

Referral Process



The School District must first be aware of the student’s need for services. Referrals are often initiated by the Committee on Special Education.



Qualified students are referred to Charlton.



Parents, guardians, and School District are informed that the review process has begun.



An interview and tour is scheduled if we determine that Charlton is a good fit for the student.

Schedule a Visit

Family therapy is critical to instilling lasting change, so parents and guardians are encouraged to be involved early by touring Charlton as part of the admission process. Parents and guardians get to know the Charlton program and staff more personally. During your visit, our multidisciplinary treatment team will also conduct a formal student-family interview before a student is accepted.

Schedule a visit

Contact Us

Call Alex Capo, Executive Director (Ext. 406) or Candy Merchant, Executive Assistant (Ext. 404) at 518-399-8182, or email [email protected] with questions regarding the referral process or placement.

Contact Us

Criteria for Admission

  • We are a residential treatment facility for girls.
  • Admission must be voluntary.
  • Students must be between the ages of 12 – 16 at the time of admission.
  • Students who are entering the 12th grade upon admission should not be referred.
  • Students must not be imminently dangerous to themselves or others.
  • Families are required to be regularly involved.

Who does well at The Charlton School?

Students who are:

  • struggling with anxiety or school refusal
  • fragile, guarded, or withdrawn
  • lacking self-esteem, motivation, or social skills
  • depressed, bipolar, or on the high end of the autistic spectrum
  • struggling with relationship or identity issues

Our students are resilient young women who are smart and capable but overwhelmed by the social and emotional pressures of school, family, and peer connectedness. Many have struggled with the development and maintenance of effective emotional regulation skills. They have experienced trauma, anxiety, depression, self-image issues, and eating disorders. Many come to Charlton with previous hospitalizations, therapeutic schools, or therapeutic placements.

The Charlton School does not accept students who are violent, aggressive, or have a serious substance abuse addiction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my daughter come home on visits?

Yes. The initiation and frequency of home visits is as individualized as a student’s treatment program. Typically, planning for home visits is discussed in family therapy. When and how often a student visits home is determined by the larger treatment team and family to ensure that the student is ready to successfully visit and transition back to Charlton. We never close. Some students are back each weekend and sometimes throughout holidays as a result of overwhelming challenges that come with visits.

Do you use a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) model?

We do not. We draw on several of the concepts to assist with our ultimate goal of teaching students to independently self-regulate their emotions and behaviors. Through years of trail and error with various models, we have come to understand that committing to one model often dilutes the efficacy of our individualized approach.

What can I bring or have in my room?

Students are allowed to have iPods, tablets, and laptops. We do not provide open WiFi on campus so students are unable to access the internet in their rooms. Posters and other decorations are encouraged to help create a sense of a privacy and safety. We provide a full list of what is allowed in the room at the time of admission.

Do I have to share a room with another student?

No. Students have their own room at Charlton. There are two cottages where our students live while on campus. Each cottage has 12-14 bedrooms.

What percent of the students go to college?

The Charlton School is a residential treatment center (RTC). As the campus school of an RCT, The Charlton School/Ketchum Grande shares a set of common treatment objectives. Chief among them is the successful return of students to their home schools prior to graduation. Because of this, we do not keep data on rates of college admission of students discharged home. Cross registration at the local public high school or with the area BOCES for Career and Technical Education can be an option for students whose residency may become long-term. Our commitment to normalization requires that students be integrated in educational settings beyond Charlton/Ketchum Grande before their high school graduation.

What are the teachers’ qualifications?

The teachers of The Charlton School/Ketchum Grande hold New York State certifications, and most have been teaching here for more than a decade. The result is a high level of collaboration and teamwork that strengthens instruction and assures the equally critical work of building strong student-teacher relationships.

Are there any standard measures—like the statewide school report cards, for example?

Our aim is to prepare students for high school graduation and future academic success—including college—by helping each student achieve at her highest potential. Our students are prepared for—and customarily pass—NYS Regents examinations required for graduation. The structure of the school is departmentalized with small classes and models the daily expectations for behavior, emotional self-regulation, and academic achievement of the public schools our students attend before and after Charlton. This deliberate similarity supports the transfer of learning, achievement, and other progress gained as a The Charlton School/Ketchum Grande student to the home school.