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Youth Residences

AWARE’s youth residential program offers care for boys and girls ages 5-17 with mental health or developmental disabilities and autism. ​Our youth homes are located in Anaconda, Billings, Butte, Great Falls, and Missoula.

Homes for youth with mental health and/or developmental disabilities

AWARE community-based youth residential group homes are for boys and girls who experience severe emotional disturbance and/or developmental disabilities. Safe, supportive environments, each home provides supervision with a two-staff to one-child ratio. Combined with natural, logical interventions, children experience relationships that foster trust, forgiveness, availability, emotional stability, and fun. 

Treatment is based on each individual’s needs:

  • Therapy is available for co-occurring mental health and developmental disabilities.

  • Wraparound approach always includes each child's natural support system.

  • Interventions are developed through natural and logical learning opportunities.

  • Community-based outings and interactions create opportunities to naturally learn skills.

  • Services are based on long-term success outside of a treatment facility.

Clinical Oversight

AWARE offers clinical oversight as part of its residential youth program including:

  • Treatment plan development.

  • Individual, family and group therapy.

  • In-house psychiatry.

  • Connection to communities and specialized collaboration.

* Clinicians use evidence-based practices and interventions based on each child.

Admission Criteria

Children admitted to AWARE group homes are those diagnosed with a severe emotional disturbance (SED). They’re unable to function in a less restrictive environment. Most often, they demonstrate:

  • Impaired interpersonal/social functioning.

  • Impaired educational/occupational functioning.

  • Impaired judgement/impulse control.

  • Lack of family/community networks.

Also, as a result of SED, youth may exhibit:

  • Inability to perform daily living activities in a developmentally appropriate manner.

  • Behaviors that result in the inability of the caregiver to safely provide care and structure in a family setting.

  • Severe or persistent symptoms requiring more intensive treatment and clinical supervision than can be provided by outpatient or in-home mental health services.

  • Significant risk of placement in an acute or psychiatric residential setting.

Referral Process

To refer a child to AWARE, please provide:

  • Clinical or psychiatric assessment with current mental status exam from the last 30 days.

  • Education records, including IEP, 504, or CST.

  • Any psychiatric/clinical evaluations from the last year.

For more information contact:

Jennifer Wihlborg, Service Director



Ask about the Lawrence P. Noonan Center for Excellence, a school in Anaconda for kids who require more intensive mental health and school services. 

Admission Criteria
Referral Process

"I've learned that home isn't a place, it's a feeling."  – Cecelia Ahern

Homes for youth with autism

AWARE’s autism youth homes opened in 2009. These homes are an extension to AWARE’s traditional residential programs for boys and girls with developmental disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorders. Our homes are located in Billings, Missoula, and Anaconda. In our clean, well-cared for four-bedroom homes, youth are offered:

  • State-of-the-art behavioral attention.

  • Individualized care.

  • Trusting relationships.

  • Interventions for natural and logical learning opportunities.

  • Social and community activities.

  • Group, individual, and family therapy.

  • Safe and comfortable living environment.

  • Schooling at a community school.

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