Residential Treatment

A Living & Learning Place…

Abbott House operates three programs:  a residential treatment program, the Bridges Therapeutic Foster Home Program and an Independent Living Program.  Our residential treatment facility is home to 45 girls.  Our building was created from a renovated school building and includes an 8,300 square foot addition that provides maximum safety for youth dealing with difficult issues and two family living units for families visiting children in treatment.

At the Abbott House girls are divided into living groups by age: seven to twelve-year olds, thirteen to fifteen-year olds, and sixteen to eighteen-year olds. Girls typically spend anywhere from 12 to 18 months at Abbott House, depending on their individual circumstances.  Up to 24 more boys and girls can live in our Bridges Therapeutic Foster Homes and 4 boys and 4 girls can live in the Independent Living Apartments in Mitchell. Up to 18 more boys and girls can live in our Bridges Therapeutic Foster Homes and 4 girls can live in the Independent Living Apartments in Rapid City.

Living and Learning Model

Abbott House operates under the Living and Learning Model. Teaching is the primary focus of the program. This Model demonstrates the principle that new behaviors can be learned to replace old behaviors. Teaching occurs within clearly defined teaching interactions that emphasize observable and measurable actions. The program is implemented based on:

  • Structured positive reinforcement by verbal praise and practice rewards
  • Continuous reinforcement following a desired behavior
  • Shaping basic skills and then combining skills with successive desired skills
  • Generalizing of skills learned to similar situations in the community
  • Discrimination of skills from one circumstance to another

The overriding benefit of this approach is that (1) There is absolutely no punishment associated with this model, and (2) It is clearly measurable and sustainable.

Abbott House’s Living and Learning Model has two focuses: Process Feelings group and Interaction Motivation. The Process Feelings group models effective communication techniques. The Interaction Motivation program is comprised of over 160 different social skills and stresses a cost-response approach to help youth learn new behaviors.

Learn more about our program and environment.


While at Abbott House girls attend an on-campus school. Each girl has an Individual Education Plan developed, which results in individualized curriculum based upon their needs in areas of grade placement, skill level, and behavioral goals. The educational program makes adaptations to address the individual circumstances of each girl. The teaching staff closely monitors and evaluates each student’s performance and testing is used to assure that the girl’s achievement level is increasing. This unique school is in session 250 days each year, thereby extending the opportunities for learning and increasing the chances of successful academic performance after the girls leave. If a girl has progressed far enough in her treatment program, she may have the opportunity to attend school off-campus at one of Mitchell’s schools.

Learn more about our educational services.

Special Services

Children at Abbott House receive regular psychological evaluations; have access to psychiatric services, group and family therapy, and therapeutic services.  Healing the trauma is necessary for all of us to move on with our lives.  Therapeutic groups and outside counselors are used to support the treatment. They also receive a full range of medical services.

Giving Back to the Community

All youth participate in volunteer community service and local resources are used for many recreational activities. In the past the girls have visited residents in a local nursing home, helped at the Salvation Army, and delivered Meals on Wheels. At higher levels of performance, some residents hold jobs in the community and others attend public schools off grounds.