Our Programs

Core Programming

Our core programming emphasizes:

  • trauma-informed care and practice
  • social-emotional learning
  • character education
  • developmental assets for healthy growth
  • Six Principles of Partnership – respect, voice, individual strengths, slow to judgment, power sharing, and process

Our evidence-based, trauma-informed practices include Risking Connection/Restorative Approach® (Traumatic Stress Institute/Klingberg Family Centers).  Social-emotional learning curriculum and character education are foundational to our ESSENTIAL© Program.  40 Developmental Assets® (Search Institute) guide our understanding and practice related to helping children develop the internal and external assets needed to mature into healthy adulthood with resiliency.  And, the Six Principles of Partnership created by Appalachian Family Innovations are central to our family engagement programming and aftercare.

The ChildTrauma Institute and the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics© also inform much of our work with youth experiencing complex trauma.  Reclaiming Youth International and the Circle of Courage® are foundational to our understanding of the basic psychological needs of all persons:  belonging, mastery, independence, generosity.  And now we understand that the basic need for fun and excitement joins the list as a significant human need.  Our challenge with adolescents and teenagers is to help them meet their need for fun and excitement in healthy, positive ways.

Experiential Learning


Because hands-on, practical learning is important for knowledge retention, Charles Hall Youth and Family Services offers several experiential learning opportunities.  We structure experiential activities that provide maximum learning in a safe and fun setting.  Outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, and water activities, challenge youth to take risks in an atmosphere of cooperation and security.  Year-round, our youth participate in equestrian activities at Harmony Stables (Bismarck) with activity leads and trainers skilled in trauma-informed practice.

In all our experiential learning activities, success is defined by each youth’s commitment to “choose his or her challenge” and step into the unknown, where they work to develop trust, communication and support.  Staff take every opportunity to help youth connect what is happening “in the field” with their day-to-day lives.

Youth who participate in these experiences often find that they can make strides in:

  • conquering their fears and anxieties;
  • learning to trust themselves and others;
  • gaining confidence in their abilities;
  • solving problems; and,
  • learning teamwork.

Community Mentors

Youth need a solid, consistent and caring relationship with an adult – someone who is not a parent, counselor, custodian or probation officer.  A mentor is a youth’s guide, who voluntarily comes alongside the young teenager, walking with and listening to them.  When the time is right, mentors can share special life wisdom and understanding from their own experience and knowledge base.

Our community mentor program provides a crucial piece in creating a well-rounded, relationally-based system of care for our youth.  Mentor matches strive for a “good fit” between mentor and youth – a relationship that can grow and be sustained, long after a youth leaves our direct care.

We recruit, screen and select volunteer community mentors who are at least 21 years old. All it takes is one, caring adult to impact the life of a young person.  For more information, contact us.

Spiritual Life

Charles Hall strives to meet the needs of at-risk youth and their families in a holistic way, recognizing the toll that trauma can take on emotions, thinking capacity, physical health, and spiritual health.  With community partners, we integrate spirituality with therapeutic practices, building on existing skills and mental health specialties to include the spiritual dimension.

Recent studies show that healthy spiritual development is associated with lower levels of depression, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse and delinquent behaviors, along with later onset of sexual activity.  This research, together with a recent survey of youth in our three group homes, reveals that adolescents see spirituality as a significant factor in their lives, but one that often goes unnourished.

Fifty-two (52%) percent of youth surveyed responded with an emphatic “yes” when asked if they felt they needed and would benefit from spiritual life programming as an optional component of our core program.  Another 10 percent (10%) of youth surveyed responded “maybe.”

Charles Hall recognizes the strong connection between opportunities for healthy spiritual growth and the well-being of today’s adolescents and teenagers.

Other Activities

Our youth are involved in activities across our local community through collaborations with area organizations, such as United Tribes Technical College, Harmony Stables, YMCA, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Bismarck Parks and Recreation, and area churches.  As the capital city, Bismarck also offers many opportunities for cultural and arts activities.