Boarding School FAQ

Boarding School FAQ

Q:  Where is Youth For Tomorrow’s (YFT) Christian Boarding School and Therapeutic Center?

A:  Youth For Tomorrow is located in Bristow, Virginia.  Bristow is two miles south of Manassas in Prince William County, just 40 miles west/southwest of Washington, D.C.

Q.  What is Youth For Tomorrow’s history?

A.  YFT opened its doors in 1986.  Through the inspirational leadership of its Founder and Chairman, NFL Hall of Fame Coach Joe Gibbs, it has served thousands of children.  YFT has become a place where boys and girls receive the help they need to re-direct their lives. 

Q: What type of students is your program prepared to serve?

A.  Youth For Tomorrow’s Christian Boarding School and Therapeutic Center is a co-educational program for teenagers.  Residents range in age from 12-18 and are in grades 7-12.  A typical resident is challenged with academic, behavioral or emotional problems which have made success in a more traditional school setting very difficult.  Many of these children have intense issues with depression, ADD/ADHD, substance abuse/addiction recovery, defiance, rebellion, low self-esteem and poor academic performance.  The students may be referred by family members, social workers, probation officers, foster care/family service officials or juvenile authorities.  Residents come from across the United States.

Q:  What does YFT’s program offer?

A:  The YFT program has three program components: residential, education and counseling.  A fourth component, spiritual growth and development, permeates each of the other components.  Together these components offer help in different areas of a resident’s life to give a complete growth experience personally, academically, behaviorally and spiritually. 

Q.  What does your campus look like? 

A.  The YFT campus resides on 215 acres of property which include seven residential facilities, a 40,000 square foot secondary school and a recreation center.  The program expanded in 2003 to include teenage girls and now serves teenage mothers with their babies.

Q:   Is Youth For Tomorrow a Christian program?  If so, is it expected of residents and their families to practice Godly principles and to participate in Christian activities?

A:   Yes, YFT is a nondenominational Christian program.  While students come representing many denominations, YFT offers daily spiritual activities within its program which include, but is not limited to: Christian education during and after the school day, Christian counseling, Bible study, individual and group prayer, on-campus chapel and Sunday church service, youth group, off-campus community service projects and a study of comparative religions.

Youth For Tomorrow requires all of its staff members to daily practice Godly principles.  YFT’s foundational scripture is, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Psalm 127:1).  The YFT motto is, “Believe His Word” (John 17:17) and “Trust His Grace” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Q:  How long does it take to complete the YFT program?

A:  The average length of stay is 6-9 months.  In our experience, to achieve positive results, a 9-12 month minimum placement is recommended.  This is to provide an opportunity for YFT’s professional staff to make behavioral assessments of the student’s issues, determine the most appropriate treatment for the child and to ascertain how well the child is responding to the chosen treatment.  Once the re-direction of a student’s personal behavior has been re-directed successfully, it is important there is ample time (e.g. 3-6 months) for the student to inculcate those behavior changes.

Q. What is a typical class size?

A.  Classes are typically 6-8 students with one teacher.

Q. What is the program’s 24/7 residential supervision ratio?

A. During the school day and in residential care, the supervision ratio is one YFT staff for every six residents.

Q.  What types of activities do residents participate in when they are not in school?

A.  YFT provides residents with a highly structured and actively supervised environment.  Residents are required to perform chores, participate in therapeutic activities, complete academic work and enjoy a range of activities.  Residents learn to work as a team, instilling a positive peer culture, along with developing trusting relationships with the adults who provide daily care and support.  The daily schedule emphasizes responsibility and good daily regular habits.  The residents participate in after school and weekend activities, some of which include basketball, skating, movies, bowling and hiking.  YFT also takes residents into the community to attend a local gym and George Mason University’s Aquatic Center to learn how to properly lift weights, swim, and play basketball to understand the importance of physical fitness.  Other after school activities include engaging with staff and participating in leisure activities such as board games, arts and crafts, and model car building.  The residents also attend professional sporting events, most notably the Washington Redskins, Wizards and Mystics games.  YFT has an on-campus full size gym and activity center where the residents enjoy billiards, video games and movies on a wall-size screen.

Q.  What are the staff qualifications?

A.   YFT currently employs a professional staff of 165 teachers, counselors, house-parents and other professional and auxiliary staffEducation: Teachers at YFT are certified by the Virginia Department of Education in general or special education curriculums.  Therapy/Clinical: Therapists are master's level clinicians licensed as mental health counselors or clinical social workers.  Other counselors are under the supervision of the Director of Clinical Services, who has a Ph.D. in Family Counseling and 25-years of experience working with high risk populations.  In addition, YFT contracts with local psychiatrists who provide medication management and psychiatric assessment and treatment.  YFT has three full-time nurses, two Registered Nurses and one Licensed Practical Nurse.  Case Management: Case Managers have college degrees and several years’ experience.  Residential: Those in residential leadership are college educated with the remaining residential staff meeting high standards of credentialing as required by our licensing agency – the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

Q.  Is Youth For Tomorrow licensed and accredited?

A.  Yes.  YFT is currently licensed and certified by the Virginia Department of Education for its secondary school; and licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services for the residences in its Christian Boarding School and Therapeutic Center.

Q.  Does YFT offer a diploma?

A.  Yes.  YFT is qualified to grant a Standard Diploma by the Virginia Board of Education.  YFT offers Virginia State Standards of Learning assessments and its credits are transferrable to local high schools, should a student wish to receive a diploma from their community school.

Q: What happens after residents leave YFT?

A:  Historically, over 86% of YFT’s residents are successfully reunited with their families, some attend two year or four year colleges or vocational/proprietary schools while others obtain employment in the labor market or honorably serve in the Armed Forces.  Most leave YFT’s campus with a renewed confidence in themselves and eagerness to prove their character and skills.

Q.  What types of therapeutic/clinical support will my child receive?

A.  Upon enrollment, our professional staff will develop a “behavior modification” plan for each resident, referred to as an Individual Treatment Plan (ITP).  The plan is created through a team approach including the parent/legal guardian, therapist, case manager, educational and residential staff and other participants essential in the resident’s development.  In addition, members of YFT’s weekly Evaluation Team work with each resident through individual, group, and family therapy sessions; weekly parent calls; process groups; psycho-education assessments; and academic support and interventions.  Lastly, YFT provides a variety of treatment modalities which are mostly grounded in trauma-informed cognitive behavioral interventions and therapy. 

Q.  How much family involvement is required and when do residents visit with family?

A.  Family involvement is essential to each resident’s success.  The YFT program encourages the student’s family to play an active role in their child’s treatment planning.  Parents will be required to attend ITP meetings via conference call or in person, whichever is most appropriate.  In addition to regular reports from the program and weekly phone conversations with the YFT case manager and/or therapists, the family is required to remain connected through phone and on-campus visitations with their child.  Eventually, the resident will be given home visit passes.  Every resident is required to remain on campus the first 30 days to familiarize themselves with the YFT program.  Subsequently, each resident’s individual visit plan will be developed depending upon the factors associated with the ITP.  The ITP will be discussed with parents monthly.

Q:  How much does this program cost?

A:  YFT offers highly personalized services to provide the maximum benefit to your child.  The costs for tuition, room, board, basic therapy and ancillary expenses are $5,290 per month. An eight week summer session is offered at $10,580.  Additional therapy may be required and is offered on an hourly basis.  All therapy may be reimbursed through private insurance, but it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to submit such claims to their insurance company. A payment is required upon enrollment, and subsequently due the first of each month thereafter.  Due to YFT’s open admissions policy, a student may enroll at any time of the school year with a pro-rated payment system applied to the charges for the remaining part of the year.

Q.  Does your school provide financing options?

A.  There are private financial companies, unaffiliated with YFT, who offer financial packages for loans and healthcare reimbursements to help families meet the costs of enrollment at private boarding schools such as Youth For Tomorrow. 

Q.  Does your school provide services to transport my child to your campus?

A.  Yes, YFT will reimburse the family for 50% of the cost of transportation services and airfare for domestic travel for the student’s initial enrollment. Please refer to our website for the transport provider’s information.

Q:  What is the application fee?

A:  There is no application fee!

Q:  How long does it take for a decision to be made regarding admission?

A:  Once the application and all required documents have been submitted, a staff member from the YFT Admissions Office will contact you to arrange an interview with the Admissions Team.  After the interview assessment, YFT will contact you within 24 hours to schedule a placement/intake date.

Q:  How can I obtain an application or learn more about your program?

A:  You may access the application through the YFT website:  or you may contact the Admissions Office at (703) 659-9836 or by email at  The Admissions Office is open Monday–Friday from 8am–6pm.