Services Provided

Aftercare|Chemical Health Education|Clinical Oversight|Community Service/Restitution|Corrections Level System|Crisis Intervention (PCM)|“Thinking for a Change” (T4C)|Program Delivery|Interscholastic Sports|Interdisciplinary Treatment Team Meeting (ITT)|Medical Services|Milieu Management|Psychiatric Services|Psychological Services|Recreational Services|Religious Services|Secure Transportation|Transportation for Home Visits|Year-Round Educational Services 


  • Six months for those youth who successfully complete the program
  • Face-to-face and phone contact with youth, family and referring agents
  • Provision of supplemental supervision and accountability
  • Assistance in finding employment and educational opportunities


KidsPeace Mesabi Academy employs a full-time chemical health/family of origin counselor. All youth receive chemical health training during school hours. Those youth who have issues with chemical health work with the counselor on an individual basis. This counselor also facilitates a Family of Origin group session one time per week.


  • The Clinical Team is comprised of the following representatives: Program Director, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Admissions, Nursing, Case Manager, Substance Abuse/Family Counselor, Education, Quality Assurance
  • Residents are reviewed during the Clinical Team meeting, which takes place once per week


All residents have the opportunity to participate in community service projects, as well as the opportunity to begin completing their court-ordered community service hours and/or restitution.


The level system serves two primary functions. By providing incentives for youth to follow program norms and rules and to behave appropriately, the level system serves as a key component of the KidsPeace Corrections Behavior Management Program. As youth work to earn privileges, the use of negative consequences is reduced. The other function of the level system is to support the overall treatment program. As youth work to earn levels, they are expected to adopt responsible and respectful behaviors. Over an extended period of time, as youth routinely practice responsible behaviors, some begin to internalize what they have learned.

It is the responsibility of all staff members to rate each youth every day. Rating youth is not optional; it is part of the staff members’ job, which requires thought, attention to detail and fairness.

KidsPeace Mesabi Academy utilizes the Daily Youth Program Report as a rating system by which each youth is rated individually in the following categories: Leadership, Participation, Treatment/Goal Completion, Cognitive Self-Change, Social Skills and Problem-Solving Skills. The youth are rated on a point system from 0–39. The ratings consist of positive, neutral and needs improvement. A score of 34–39 represents a positive day; 25–33 a neutral day and 24 and below a needs improvement day. Every youth is rated in each category during different time periods throughout the day. The Daily Youth Program Report system provides a visual aid for both staff and youth to accurately chart progress.

KidsPeace Mesabi Academy utilizes a level system that is based upon the Daily Youth Program Report. The basis for the level system is a weekly reflection of all youths’ progress within the treatment program. The system consists of five levels: Orientation Level and Levels I, II, III and IV. All five levels are distinctly different in nature and comprised of concrete guidelines and responsibilities. The program allows for periodic movement within the system dependent upon the youth’s current level of functioning. The youth’s progress in Group Therapy, Individual Therapy and Counseling, IPP (individualized program plan), Milieu Behavior, Peer Helping, School, Recreation and any other activities that are compiled is evaluated to determine his level. Each youth must also petition in front of his peers for his next level and accept feedback.


Professional Crisis Management is the crisis management system utilized at KidsPeace Mesabi Academy. Developed by the Professional Crisis Management Association, this program teaches staff members crisis prevention strategies, crisis de-escalation strategies, crisis intervention procedures and post-crisis strategies. It is a non-coercive crisis management system that is integrated into our regular treatment programming. For more specific information, please see their Web site, www.pcma.com.


  • “Thinking for a Change” 
    Philosophical Foundation for the Curriculum

“Thinking for a Change” (T4C) uses a combination of approaches to increase a youth’s awareness of self and others. This deepened attentiveness to attitudes, beliefs and thinking patterns is combined with explicit teaching of interpersonal skills relevant to the youth’s present and future needs. The goal is to provide contextual instruction and related experiences so that youth are confident and motivated to use pro-social skills when faced with interpersonal problems and/or anti-social situations. The philosophy of the program endorses that youth should be empowered to be responsible for changing their own problem behavior. T4C gives youth the tools to take pro-social action and change their offending ways.

T4C integrates cognitive restructuring, social skills and problem solving. It begins by teaching youth an introspective process to examine their ways of thinking, feelings, beliefs and attitudes. This process continues and is reinforced throughout the program. Social Skills training is provided to youth as an alternative to anti-social behaviors. The program culminates with integrating the skills youth have learned into steps for problem solving. Thus, problem solving becomes the central approach they learn to enable them to work through difficult situations without engaging in criminal behavior.

T4C’s Assessment Focus
The curriculum incorporates assessment as a part of each lesson. Youth learn how to report on situations that could lead to criminal behavior and to identify their thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs that may lead them to offending. Participants learn how to write and use a thinking report as a means to determine their awareness of their risk thinking that leads them into trouble. Within the Social Skills component of “Thinking for a Change,” youth try using the newly demonstrated social skill in role-play situations. After each role-play, the group discusses and assesses how well the youth did in following the steps of the social skill being learned. The youth practice the newly acquired skill during the time before the next group session in order to practice using it in actual real-life situations. They report how well they did (how well they used the steps of the skill) in a written homework sheet to be completed and brought to the next social skill group session.

Youth apply problem-solving steps to problems in their own lives. This application is done both in class and as homework. Role-plays, problem scenario discussions and homework applications provide assessment information on each youth’s ability to problem solve.

Program Delivery
The T4C curriculum is comprised of 22 lessons with a capacity to extend the program indefinitely, depending upon how many cognitive skills are taught. “Thinking for a Change” follows guidelines for most cognitive behavior programs, and sessions are facilitated four times per week.

  • Independent Living Skills
    KidsPeace Mesabi Academy utilizes the Phillip Roy “Life Skills Curriculum,” which includes, but is not limited to, the following group topics: balancing a checkbook, job interviewing, budgeting and completing job applications. This group session is facilitated once per week.
  • Positive Youth Environment (P.Y.E.) Therapeutic Group
    The P.Y.E. Therapeutic Group is an opportunity for all the residents and staff within a program to gather and discuss issues that arise regarding how the environment is functioning. The responsibility of the staff members is to promote an environment that is positive and therapeutic, and this group provides the forum. The P.Y.E. group also empowers residents to make a positive impact on their environment and to collectively work on issues as they arise. This group is facilitated one time per week.
  • Progress Group
    This group provides residents with a forum to give and receive constructive feedback to and from their peers regarding progress on their treatment issues. At times, this group is facilitated by a resident who is on a higher level, and, at other times, it is facilitated by a staff member. This group is facilitated one time per week.


Mesabi Academy School is a member of the MN State High School League in the sports of football and basketball. The youth are given the opportunity to join these teams and compete against area high schools.


The interdisciplinary treatment team includes all of the members of the clinical team, as well as all other parties involved in a youth’s treatment. This may include, but is not limited to, the following: Admissions, Director of Programs, Education, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Counselor/Case Manager, Family of Origin/Chemical Health Counselor, Nursing, Aftercare staff, parent/guardian, probation officer/social worker, guardian ad litem, and the youth. This team convenes after 30 days and then every 90 days thereafter. The purpose of this team approach is to address all of the youth’s needs and develop a comprehensive Individual Program Plan (IPP).


  • All residents receive the proper medical care
  • The facility employs two full-time Registered Nurses
  • There is always a nurse on call
  • We utilize local providers for clinic, hospital, dental and eye care


KidsPeace Mesabi Academy provides 24-hour staff supervision in all of its programs. Staff:

  • Monitor the residents
  • Ensure that the schedule is followed
  • Participate in activities with residents
  • Facilitate group sessions
  • Ensure the safety of the residents and utilize the crisis management system when necessary
  • Counsel the residents
  • Hold the residents accountable for undesirable behaviors


KidsPeace Mesabi Academy contracts with a psychiatrist who is in the building one day per week and completes evaluations as directed by the Clinical Team.


KidsPeace Mesabi Academy contracts with a local psychiatrist who is at the facility one time per week and completes medication reviews one time each month per resident.


KidsPeace Mesabi Academy employs a full-time Recreation/Athletic Supervisor. Many opportunities are provided to the youth to participate in therapeutic activities and large muscle exercise. The facility is equipped with two gymnasiums, a recreation center that includes a foosball and ping-pong table, a football field, a softball field and a swimming pool.


  • Residents are afforded the right to practice their religion
  • Residents are given the opportunity to participate in organized religious activities once per week
  • Residents are not discriminated against for their personal religious/spiritual beliefs


KidsPeace Mesabi Academy provides transportation upon admit and discharge.


KidsPeace Mesabi Academy provides transportation for home visits. For youth from Minnesota, the facility will transport the youth home one time per month, once the youth earns the appropriate Level. For out-of-state youth, it varies depending upon the individual contracts.


The facility has an on-site school, Mesabi Academy School, which provides year-round educational services. The local school district provides the oversight and educational instruction to the residents. Our Mesabi Academy School currently employs full-time licensed teachers in the secondary areas of mathematics, English, art and social studies and the special education areas of learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders and mild and moderate mental impairment. Those residents who qualify are also given the opportunity to work toward their GEDs.




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