Residential Treatment Program Update

A Long Road to Three New Residential Treatment Programs Ryther staff often joke that Ryther is a one-stop-shop for anything that children, youth, and families may be struggling with. With Ryther’s 20 plus programs, we offer everything from evidence-based therapies to Dungeons and Dragons social skills groups! But, one program that has made Ryther stand out further from the crowd is our Residential Treatment Program, commonly known as the "Cottage Program." Publicly funded psychiatric beds are a rarity in the state of Washington. With only 84 publicly funded beds for 1.6 million kids since 2020, waitlists for residential treatment programs span half a year or more (Crosscut Article). In 2019, the state of Washington lost 36 beds when Ryther was forced to shut down its residential program due to inadequate reimbursement rates. Even with this setback, Ryther was determined to find a way to offer residential treatment to families. If there is a community need, Ryther will find a way to respond. A year-long waitlist could not be a clearer indication of a community need.

The Plan Driven by community need, Ryther came up with a plan. First, apply for a Residential Treatment Facilities (RTF) License that will allow Ryther to pay staff a livable wage and two, create three new specialized Residential Treatment Programs:

  • Cottage A, Eating Disorders: Treating 8-16-year-olds who are struggling with a restrictive eating disorder, as well as their families. We will use Family-Based Treatment (FBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help clients find a path to recovery.

  • Cottage B, Behavioral Health: Treating 6-14-year-olds who are experiencing an acute behavioral health crisis. The program will serve youth living with a mood, thought, or trauma disorder. This program will integrate Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to support clients, and their families, in achieving their treatment goals.

  • Cottage D, Neurodevelopmental: Treating children, ages 6-14, who are diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, or anxiety and are experiencing significant challenges in their daily lives. We will use an integration of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Social Thinking Curriculum, and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) to support clients, and their families, in achieving their treatment goals.

The Long Road Qualifying for an RTF license has proven to be a longer road than expected. Obtaining an RTF license is a multi-step process, with the first step involving approval from the Construction Review Division for building modifications required to meet the licensing requirements. While the modifications to the buildings are minimal, the lack of clarity around what DOH requires has meant new requests after each submittal resulting in 3 rounds of reviews to date. Despite the long road, Ryther is committed to again serving children and youth who require this level of care. Gratitude While this has been a frustrating process, Ryther has been humbled by you, our community of supporters who continue to stick with us through this unexpectedly long and frustrating process. We will continue to update you as we journey along this long road to three new residential treatment programs.