SteppenStone Youth Treatment Service

Limestone Location

SteppenStone Youth Treatment Services’ on-campus residential facility, SteppenStone Youth Treatment Center (SSYTC), is licensed by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health for 33 male adolescents. Each resident is provided an individual room and are required to take care of their personal hygiene needs separately to increase feelings of personal safety and decrease opportunities to act out. A high staff to resident ratio (day 1:5, evening 1:5, and night 1:8) along with state-of-the-art technology assures each boy an environment that encourages personal responsibility, accountability, pro-social interaction and the respect for self and others.

Upon admission to SSYTC, the adolescent receives a comprehensive 12-to-16-hour orientation program. Every adolescent participates in a strong behavior management program utilizing logical and natural consequences. The behavior management program is designed specifically to address dynamic risk factors such as personal responsibility, accountability, choices, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. The primary clinical goal of our behavior management program is to establish a healthy pro-social environment that challenges the adolescent to behave and interact differently than when he was acting out.



Within 72 hours of admission, the treatment team develops an initial treatment plan. Over the next thirty days, the clinical treatment team will begin assessing and evaluating the presence of dynamic risk factors associated with the adolescent’s acting out. This evaluation is done through the clinical contacts as well as the adolescent’s behavior on the residential unit. Clinical contacts include a minimum of three therapy groups and two skill development groups each week. Group therapy addresses the dynamic risk factors associated with interpersonal social skills, communication, peer relationships, self-respect, and self-worth. In addition to treatment group, each client receives a minimum of one hour of individual therapy each week. Individual therapy is used to help the adolescent identify and address ongoing risk factors and development of adaptive coping responses. Along with individual therapy, the adolescent will participate in family therapy a minimum of twice a month. Family therapy focuses on the supervision, structure, family roles, communication, and appropriate discipline. SSYTS utilizes a strengths-based, cognitive behavioral treatment approach combined with strong family therapy designed to reduce or extinguish dynamic risk factors associated with the adolescent’s risk to engage in sexual behavior problems.  It is an evidenced-based, intensive, clinical treatment program led by a highly trained, experienced, and dedicated treatment team. The “clinical team approach” to treatment provides a comprehensive treatment milieu to address each youth’s individual emotional and behavioral needs. Our clinical therapists are trained in evidence-based curriculums to include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Due to the extensive trauma experienced by the youth we serve, in November 2021, SSYTS was awarded a grant through the East Tennessee Foundation Youth Endowment Fund to support the ‘Remember to Turn on the Light – Toward a Resilient Future’ program. The grant funds afforded SSYTS the opportunity to provide three clinical therapists training and certification in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Trauma Therapy to further assist the adolescents we serve with addressing their trauma. EMDR assists the adolescent with addressing and working through their traumatic memories, sensations and emotions in order to resume normal, adaptive and healthy processing of their traumatic experiences.

Adjunct clinical services include daily therapeutic group activities to assist the adolescent in addressing peer relationships and managing peer conflict. Adolescents participate in peer groups daily to further assist in developing and practicing communication, social, and interpersonal skills. Twice a week the adolescent participates in motor skill development to address delays/deficits in motor skills. Deficits in motor skills impact body image, self-esteem, and self-worth. Throughout the adolescent’s treatment, he will develop personal goals on a weekly basis. This allows adolescents to practice self-evaluation, self-care, and personal responsibility for their treatment. Successful completion of weekly goals allows adolescents to participate in goal activities. Success in meeting individual goals quarterly allows adolescents to participate in extended off campus activities.

In addition to the clinical treatment services, Monday through Friday adolescents receive 6 ½ hours of education on a daily basis. These exceptional academic services are offered through an on-campus school that is licensed and accredited by the Tennessee Department of Education. SteppenStone Academy operates year-round and provides the opportunity to graduate with a full high school diploma or complete the requirements and testing to receive a General Education Diploma (GED). For many troubled youth their poor performance in school is precipitated by underlying emotional, behavioral and sexual issues. At SteppenStone, the individual academic needs of each student are addressed as an integrated part of their treatment program.

SteppenStone Outpatient Services


Our Purpose

SteppenStone Outpatient Treatment Services is designed to address each individual’s needs in an environment that provides intensive therapeutic intervention with the identified client and their family support system. Each individual and their families participate in up to six (6) hours of treatment services per week, based upon their needs. Clients receiving treatment are considered to have sexual behavior problems as children or adolescents.

What is Problematic 

A child’s sexual behavior can be a problem if it is:

  • Out of the ordinary for his/her stage of development
  • Interferes with normal interests and activities
  • Involves other children in a way that is upsetting
  • Takes advantage of children who are younger
  • Involves pressure or force

The nature of the behavior determines what the most helpful response should be and whether the authorities and professionals will become involved. Behaviors that are public and disruptive, continue in spite of efforts to stop them, or bother or hurt other children are most likely to require professional help.

Find Out More About Our Provided Services

Contact us for more information about services, have a referral, or to make an appointment!

SteppenStone Academy

In 2002, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services asked Counseling and Consultation Services, Inc. to open a continuum of treatment services that could deal with adolescent boys who are experiencing multiple emotional and behavioral problems. This program would provide care, supervision, treatment and academic services to at risk adolescents. A major component of the residential and day treatment portions of the continuum of services would be an alternative school setting. SteppenStone Academy was established and is now a Category I school.  An exceptional educational program is provided to students in grades 6 through 12. SteppenStone Academy’s goal is to create an environment which will enable the strong general and special education program to motivate the students to succeed not only at SteppenStone Academy, but also in their community educational or vocational settings in the future.

SteppenStone Academy serves around 50 students per year of which approximately 55% are special education certified due to emotional, behavioral, or learning disabilities. On average, when entering SteppenStone Academy the students are functioning two years behind grade level. Over the course of attending SteppenStone Academy a student experiences on average an increase of 18 months in their academic functioning. SteppenStone Academy has graduated over 100 adolescents.  The adolescents attending SteppenStone Academy are active daily in motor skills training.

In the Spring of 2015, the doors were opened to a brand-new building for SteppenStone Academy.  This new facility boasts two classrooms, a library, and several offices.

Indian Ridge Group Home

Located in Johnson City, Indian Ridge Group Home provides room for 12 adolescent boys. There are two boys per room in an effort to integrate them back to a more family-like environment. Clients attend community-based treatment and have the opportunity to receive public education.


Sunset House
Staffed Foster Home

Located in Jonesborough, Sunset Staffed Foster Home provides a step down from Indian Ridge Group Home. The staffed foster home has an employee supervising three youth in the home and facilitates a community environment to ensure a smooth re-entry for permanency.


Therapeutic Foster Care Services

SteppenStone Youth Treatment Services is licensed by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services to provide foster care services. Therapeutic Foster Care is a crucial component to the continuum of services already being provided by SteppenStone, allowing day and intensive out-patient treatment services to be an option for youth who do not have family resources. Transitioning back into the community without significant incidents of behavioral and/or sexual problems is a gauge of the internal changes taking place in the youth we serve.
Therapeutic Foster Care provides a less-restrictive, structured, safe environment that continues to promote the physical, social and emotional growth necessary in assisting the youth to successfully integrate back into the community from residential care.