Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions are often posed to us by young women and their families or other support people interested in learning more about daily life and expectations at Forest Ridge. If you have a question that is not listed here, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

What is Forest Ridge?

Forest Ridge is a place in Iowa that works with girls who are 13-17 when they arrive and are needing help figuring out how to make decisions, interact with others, and cope with stresses in more productive, safe, and healthy ways. Many of the young women at Forest Ridge have been ordered to complete treatment by the court through human services or juvenile probation, and have often experienced trauma at some point in their lives. 

How long will I be there?

The length of stay is dependent on each youth’s needs and effort. It is possible to successfully complete the program in as short as 5 months, but the average length of stay for successful program completion has most recently been measured at 9 months.

Can I wear my own clothes?

Yes, if they are appropriate. We do not have uniforms, but we do have a dress code. Clothing with drug or alcohol symbolism or references, gang-related or satanic symbolism, and clothing that is torn, tattered, or revealing are not appropriate for use at Forest Ridge. If you only have clothes that fit into those described as unapproved, we have a supply of donated, new & gently used clothing that you can use until appropriate clothing can be obtained for you.

Click here to download a list of items we recommend bringing with you.

What about electronics?

You will not be able to use your own electronic devices at Forest Ridge, including cell phones, iPods, iPads, laptops, mp3 players, tablets, e-readers or other devices.  

How often can I talk to my _____ ?

You can call your legal contacts (worker, attorney, guardian ad litem) as needed, and within reasonable limits (established by the legal contact).  Your personal calls are limited only by your approved or unapproved contact list, which is agreed upon by your guardian and worker at the time of your admission.  You, your guardian, and your worker are always informed of who is on this list and changes can be made to it with the agreement of your worker and guardian. Personal calls occur daily. Details are available in our Student Handbook. A student handbook example for parents, along with information parents or guardians may need as their youth is placed at Forest Ridge, is available here: 2018 Program Description & Handbook

How soon and how often are home visits?

When the treatment team (the youth, staff, workers, and involved family) is confident that a young woman is able to conduct herself safely and within reasonable limits, plans can be made for a home visit.  The frequency and length of home visits are dependent on individual circumstances, and the safety of a youth and her community are important factors in the decisions surrounding home visits.  It is important for a young woman to balance a focus on her program and her work repairing or building family relationships in order to ensure long-term success.  This balance is different for each youth. 

On-campus visits are scheduled each weekend day from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., though adjustments can be made to accommodate individual needs. Contact the specific cottage or unit staff to make arrangements.  

For Parents: