Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the program?

One year is the minimum term for boys to be enrolled at Safe Harbor.

Why does my boy need to be there so long?

Change takes time.  Our program and others have learned that 12 months is a minimum period of time for a boy to truly change over the years.  Any shorter than that, and we are wasting our time and money because he will go right back to the way things were (and maybe even worse).  What happens is that it takes roughly 3 months for the boy to actually believe he is going to have to stay here for a year, so throughout that time, little progress is made.  In months 3-6, the boy begins to open up and think about his behaviors, but he is still dragging his feet while also trying to convince his parents that he is “cured,” begging them to take him home. Months 6-9 bring about the most change, especially after the parent makes it abundantly clear that he will stay the full 12 months, regardless.  And months 9-12 begin to solidify new habits and thoughts. The boys at this time begin to take responsibility for their behaviors and begin to look at how they once thought and acted as being foolish and childish.  These last 3 months are critical to “cement” the thinking and attitudes before returning home.  After 12 months here, most boys will be sad to be leaving.

How long is the school year?

Students attend school on campus year-round.

May a student stay longer than a year?

Yes, if needed or in the best interest of the student. 

Will he receive a diploma if my son graduates from Safe Harbor Academy?

If your boy graduates high school while at Safe Harbor, he will receive an accredited high school diploma.  All academics credits earned (completed) while at Safe Harbor can be transferred back to your local school if the boy leaves before graduation.

Would my son be able to attend college after graduation?

Yes, as with any college, he must be accepted and meet that college’s criteria. A large majority of our graduates attend college within two years of graduation. We strongly encourage all graduates to attend a community college or trade school for further education.

Can I bring my son and visit?

No, please discuss this with a counselor or the intake personnel when your phone call is scheduled. This is a residential education program and becomes “home” to our students. The staff is sensitive to their privacy needs; therefore, we coordinate our parental interviews to respect all students’ privacy. Also, we’ve learned from the past that some parents want to “threaten” their son and have no intention of enrolling them at Safe Harbor. Those visits take up valuable staff time and disrupt our program.

When I come for an interview, will I be able to speak to the students?

Yes, our staff will provide you a student to give you a tour. The residents volunteer for this assignment and are willing to share their stories and experience in the program with you.

Can my son bring his guitar, computer, iPod, musical instrument, or devices?

No, we do not allow personal items such as these.

Can my son bring his cell phone?

No, such items are not allowed.

How many students do you have?

Safe Harbor is small and accredited for just 15 students. 

What is the most important thing for me to know as a parent?

Being committed to the process once you make this decision. Your commitment is vital to further your son’s progress. As such, you must also communicate your firm commitment to your son, so he knows you will not pull him out early.  Both parents must be on the same page and committed to this, or the boy will not accept the help he needs, which includes him having a clear understanding that he will be here for a full year.

The Maritime-Based Boarding School

Safe Harbor Brings Sea Change.