Our Youth

About Our Youth

The State of North Dakota believes that children thrive best when sheltered, nurtured and loved by their biological families. When that is not possible, our state strives to provide the “least restrictive” care, placing a child with his/her own family or a foster family. Additional out-of-home placements are available to youth based on their needs. The spectrum of placement beyond the family structure, from least restrictive to most restrictive, includes:

  • Kinship care
  • Foster family/Therapeutic foster family
  • Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) – e.g., Charles Hall
  • Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTF)
  • Correctional facility – Youth Correctional Center (YCC) – Mandan, ND

Children often move up or down the ladder of services. A youth might begin his/her out-of-home placement within a residential program, move to a psychiatric residential treatment facility, and then “step down,” or back, to the a lower level of care (e.g., foster family) before returning to his/her family of origin or kin if it is possible.

Charles Hall youth, ages 10 to 19, have been adjudicated into the foster care system for a variety of reasons. Many come from families which are unable or unwilling to provide adequate care. Others come because of drug or alcohol abuse, truancies, run-away charges, or delinquency or unruliness charges.

Many youth struggle with post-traumatic stress (PTSD) that is triggered by a horrific act that occurred when the child was younger. Mental illness, especially depression and anxiety, as well as attention deficit disorder, affect many children. Youth who experience complex trauma often struggle with thoughts of suicide, eating disorders, and/or other self-destructive behaviors.

By the Numbers

  • Charles Hall Youth and Family Services serves approximately 50 youth each year with average lengths of stay equaling five to six months.
  • 45% of our youth are Caucasian, 50% are Native American, and 5% represent African American, Hispanic, or other racial and ethnic groups.
  • 60% of our children are from the Bismarck-Mandan area, with the additional 40% coming from counties across North Dakota and sometimes from neighboring states.
  • The majority of our youth are survivors of complex trauma, with challenges in several life domains affected by behavior and mental health issues.

“At first, I was pretty upset with all that happened and at that point, I really didn’t see why my mom would put me in a place I hated so much.  While I was at Charles Hall, I did everything possible to try and get things worked out with my family.  I tried to get everyone to get along and that’s not easy with nine girls.  It made me realize that when one person does something wrong, it affects the whole house. At the end of my stay, I realized why Mom placed me.  It was because I was totally out of control and I needed help.  It wasn’t because she didn’t love me.  It was because she did love me, and she was scared of what could happen to me if I didn’t get the help I needed.”

– A Former Youth Resident