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349 Madison St
Courtland, AL 35618
Phone: 256-637-2199
Fax: 256-637-8911

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Brighter Path Courtland was established in 1990 as a residential treatment facility, certified by the Alabama Department of Mental Health, serving males placed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources and Alabama State Multiple Needs. Brighter Path Courtland is an Intensive Staff Secure Facility with 28 beds for males with sexual reactive needs and 18 beds for males with severe emotional and behavioral issues. We provide PRTF level of care in a trauma informed environment and are accredited by the Joint Commission. Our program approach to treatment is the Cognitive Behavioral Model. Therapeutic services include: Individual, Group and Family counseling, specialized sexual issues treatment, social and life skills training, activities/experiential therapy and after care planning. The program strives to teach students how to develop responsible thinking, behavior, teamwork, and support of peers within their community group structure.

Important information regarding our health plan's Machine-Readable Files (MRF).

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Our mission is to provide a comprehensive trauma informed program approach that will enable the youth to maximize their potential as they will have the knowledge to shape the future and become productive citizens who are contributing members of their community and society. To this objective we will follow the defined principles of our beliefs.


Program Description

Brighter Path Courtland, as an intensive residential care provider, will provide room, board, and an array of services for youth who may have serious and/or chronic emotional and/or behavioral management problems. These problems likely interfere with the youth’s ability to function in the family, school, and/or community setting outside of a residential environment. Brighter Path Courtland will provide intensive services for youth with a qualifying diagnosis requiring active treatment and who have been approved and certified by an independent team as meeting medical necessity for this level of care. Youth admitted to the program may have such issues as delinquency, chronic runaways, manipulative behaviors, difficulty maintaining self-control, poor self-esteem, and difficulty accepting authority. The youth may exhibit significant disruptive behaviors such as persistent or unpredictable aggression, and moderate to serious risk of causing harm to themselves or others. The program will implement a professionally developed and supervised individual plan of care for each youth admitted to the program. Services will be limited to youth whose needs cannot be met in their own homes, traditional foster homes, therapeutic foster care homes, moderate residential care, or youth whose treatment goals cannot be met in a less restrictive setting. These youth will have a need for constant adult supervision and intense treatment, which could include the use of psychotropic medication.

Youth with primarily behavioral issues will be served at the Brighter Path Courtland Facility, living on a separate wing from youth exhibiting sexual reactive behavior. The youth will sleep, eat, play and attend classrooms separately from youth being served at a different level of care.


Length of Stay

Youth are reviewed at the time of admission and assigned a length of stay, with the average length being 8 months. Lengths of stay for all youth admitted are based upon historic norms per diagnostic category for discharged youth with acceptable and reasonable length of stays as determined for adolescents being admitted to a long-term treatment program. At the youth’s 5 month mark, the program will conduct an intensive stay review. After the initial length of stay assignment has expired, a continue length of stay review shall be conducted in three month increments until the youth has completed or discharged from the program.

Admission Criteria

Students admitted to the Brighter Path Courtland program must have a DSM-V diagnosed mental illness (or be identified by a mental health professional as having serious emotional and/or behavioral problems in need of treatment.) These problems must pose a severe level of impairment to overall functioning in multiple areas. The following areas are evaluated for admissions:

Exclusionary Criteria

  1. Principal diagnosis of alcoholism or drug dependence
  2. Primary physical disorder (serious illness requiring hospital care, nursing care, home health care, or impaired mobility, which prohibits participation in program services)
  3. Primary organic disorder (brain damage)
  4. Principal diagnosis of mental retardation- IQ below 70
  5. Children who are actively homicidal, actively suicidal, or those children who have a psychosis not controlled with medication or a diagnosis that is in the exclusionary category from DMH certified facilities.
  6. Youth who have displayed major acts of violence or aggression such as rape, arson, and assault with deadly weapon, murder, and attempted murder within the past six (6) months are also ineligible for the program.

Discharge/Transfer Criteria

Aftercare and discharge planning begin at time of intake. A youth may graduate the program after successfully addressing the primary behavioral issues on his treatment plan. In the event that a youth is unable to successfully complete the program, discharge and/or transfer will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and will be arranged through the assigned therapist in collaboration with the youth, family and/or referral sources. Transfer could include to a higher or lesser level of care, based on youth needs.

Staff Qualification

The Courtland staff is comprised of Masters Level Family Service Workers, Licensed Nurses, Bachelors level Direct Care Staff, High school graduates with experience as student care workers, and a Board Certified Psychiatrist

The program is staffed to ensure that the supervision of the youth is maintained at all times, and that the youth are able to receive the necessary internal as well as external resources available such as dietary, medical, educational, mental health and recreational services to name a few.


All youth are to have some form of visitation with their family/legal guardians/legal representative. Such visitation may occur in the form of an on campus, town, home pass or via virtual technology. The type of visit will be determined based on the youth’s participation in their treatment program and authorization from the legal guardian. All decisions regarding type of pass/visit and length shall be reviewed and approved by the Treatment Team and legal guardian. Youth and visitors will be provided privacy for on campus visitation.

Target Population:

Males ages 12-18 years old from various backgrounds including individuals with aggressive, oppositional and sexual reactive behaviors, individuals with learning disabilities, and individuals with myriad mental health issues. The goal is to provide a safe haven for those victims and to allow them an opportunity to obtain clinical services while starting to put their lives back together by focusing on basic living skills and social interactions in a safe nonthreatening staff secure environment.

Therapeutic Approach:

We employ a trauma-informed approach (Sanctuary Model) in order to understand and respond to our youths’ past traumatic experiences. The goal is to help our youth understand the impact of negative experiences on their development and enlisting them in the process of positive change. We begin with psychoeducation by giving our youth the words for what they already know and helping them see patterns where no patterns existed for them before. Increasing awareness, emphasizing safety, and teaching skills to manage feelings are pivotal features in creating an environment that can handle the crucial work of processing feelings, past trauma, grief and loss.

Academic Profile

The time a youth spends at Brighter Path of Alabama programs is traditionally a period of academic gain, which is significant to a child's overall growth and success.

The objectives for our youth are to attend school, demonstrate appropriate behavior, and achieve academically, so that they might return with competency and confidence to compete within the public or private school arena, college, military service, or job market.

Youth participate in a school program recognized by the state of Alabama as a Specialized Treatment Facility as defined by the state of Alabama and is accredited by Cognia. All core teachers hold Alabama teaching certifications, with some being certified in Special Education. We are committed to maintaining a low student to teacher ratio. A traditional school year, with an academic program based on the Alabama State Course of Study and College and Career Readiness Standards, offers educational opportunity for each youth as a part of his individualized treatment plan. Summer school is conducted for remediation, enrichment and credit recovery as needed by youth for courses in which he may have missed or failed in previous school placement.

Providing career/vocational education assists us in preparing students to compete more competently and confidently upon completion of the program. This curriculum prepares our youth for life outside of secured residential settings by teaching specific skills and building self-esteem through a variety of activity.