Northwest Academy

Northwest Academy


Located on an 85-acre campus in a rural, wooded area outside the small town of Naples, northern Idaho, Northwest Academy is a boarding school–style establishment for troubled teenage boys and girls aged 16 to 18. Clients are at risk of not completing high school, and substance abuse often plays a role in their troubles.

Northwest Academy strongly recommends that new clients attend a wilderness program before enrolling at this facility, noting that its program is most successful when clients already have a strong emotional foundation and academic goals in place.


Residents stay for one year. The program combines therapy and substance abuse counseling with academics and personal fitness training, with the goal of helping each resident to complete high school, continue to training or college, and go on to responsible, independent lives.

The center’s substance abuse program sets out to help clients identify triggers, learn about prevention, and develop an individual recovery plan that they can take with them into their future. The program uses the 12-Steps, including on- and off-site meetings and an unusual 12-step recovery yoga program, as well as the Stages of Change model. The program also aims to align students and parents on the objectives of sobriety. Psychiatric services, including psychopharmacology, are also provided.

In terms of academics, Northwest Academy offers a “transcript repair program” that enables residents to gain academic credits and raise their GPA. The center also offers special education services, post-secondary planning, and, where appropriate, an opportunity for residents to take classes at a local college. Clients can also participate in volunteering opportunities and programming designed to help them find their passion; the facility’s website mentions flying lessons, interning at a golf course, club sports, and working at a local school, among other things. Residents also participate in a physical fitness class each weekday.

For families, there’s a “Parent Portal,” which provides news and photos to keep parents up to date, as well as the opportunity to participate in weekend-long adventures.


According to the facility’s website, this center employs a psychiatrist and a psychiatric nurse practitioner on a contract basis. The treatment team includes licensed professional counselors, a social worker, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a certified addiction counselor. All staff members are certified in First Aid and CPR, and all teachers are state-certified.


The large campus in the mountains of northern Idaho provides gender-separate dorms, classrooms, a computer lab, and a cozy communal area with a fireplace, as well as basketball and volleyball courts and an ultimate Frisbee golf course. Northwest Academy prides itself on its extracurricular activities: according to the facility’s website, teens enrolled on the program can participate in skiing, snowboarding, hiking, river rafting, fly-fishing, and mountain biking. Vegetarian food is available at each meal.

Families are welcome to visit after an initial period of six to eight weeks. As clients progress through the program, they also become eligible for off-campus visits, including overnight visits.


All three reviews submitted to to date were very negative. “The ‘treatment plans’ and methods are completely useless and do not help prepare students for the real world. It was basically like a corral,” C.C. wrote, adding that they felt the center manipulated worried parents and was more interested in money than in offering help. “The education there is an absolute joke,” an anonymous reviewer added, while Dan wrote: “This is place is dumb… Its like paying to be in prison.”

Secondary sites yielded no alumni reviews at the time of this writing.


At the time of this writing, secondary sites yielded mixed reviews from staff: a 3.6-star average rating based on 10 reviews on Indeed, and on Glassdoor, a single one-star review.[1] [2] Some reviewers spoke highly of the center’s mission, and displayed dedication to clients: “Working with students who have gotten off track and need clinical and academic support to get back on track is fulfilling, meaningful and rewarding,” one anonymous current employee wrote in a representative review on However, two reviewers described the center as a “warehouse” and a “scam” designed to dupe parents. “Management is poor and lacks integrity.
Therapy? How can you have a therapist who disciplines you when you tell the truth?… NWA is a warehouse for kids who smoked weed and their rich parents couldn’t deal with it,” one former employee wrote in another representative review on


A stay at Northwest Academy costs $8,400 per month. On admission, there is a one-time enrollment fee of $2,000, plus a $2,000 fee for a Microsoft tablet and keyboard, which clients keep after completing treatment. Some insurers may offer reimbursement for the mental health services provided: the facility will provide a monthly statement that clients and their families can submit to insurers. In addition, financing and loans are available for the educational and behavioral health components of treatment.

Northwest Academy is owned by Universal Health Services (UHS), which in December 2016 was the subject of a major Buzzfeed investigation into Medicare and Medicaid fraud and mistreatment of clients.


Reviews about Northwest Academy

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
  • This is place is dumb... Its like paying to be in prison.. Not the bid #blacklivesmatter
  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
  • I attended Northwest Academy from December 2009 to September 2010. While a couple of the support staff may have cared about the students, this place is a complete scam. They are just after desparate parents' money. The "treatment plans" and methods are completely useless and do not help prepare students for the real world. It was basically like a corral. Group of kids moved from one area to another to another like herds of cows. This is how we felt, and five years later I can fairly say the only benefit of my time there was meeting some great fellow students (some of whom I'm still friends with to this day), and it made me want to open a wellness center of my own someday which will be run properly, ethically, and sensibly. While there I was yelled at for taking showers longer than five literal minutes, talked down to and disrespected constantly.. I gained 40 pounds there due to the lack of vegetarian options other than bread and pasta. I had arrived in December of my senior year, and by May I had earned ALL credits required to graduate high school. They refused to give me my high school diploma until the FOLLOWING December, solely because my poor mom had only paid over $62,000 and they wanted the full $90,000 from her. They prey on parents who feel their children need help in life, but I promise you this is not the place where they receive such help. There are places out there that will keep your child safe and alive for a period of time that actually care about the students, unlike Northwest Academy. The company is a money-maker, money is their main goal and that is it. Also the owner decided to renovate the woodchip (formerly gravel) paths that led from the main house to the dorms, using student labor (usually as punishments). Does this sound therapeutic to you? I understand that parents are concerned about their children and want them to get help. Sure, access to things most teenagers have access to in the real world is not nearly as easy while trapped here. But there are places you can spend your money where they will actually help your child learn and grow, not just keep them corralled until they turn 18 or so. I beg parents not to fall for their lies. This is not a therapeutic environment. To all parents reading this, I beg you, look at all the other options and please talk to the students in private before making a decision. Please, your child will receive more help anywhere but here.
  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
  • WARNING: do not send your child to this school...However if you feel this crucial for your child, I STRONGLY recommend moving, private schools, normal boarding schools, ANYTHING but these type of schools.... The education there is an absolute joke. Yes, they may get your kid into a decent college, however tell your kid good luck in college because they will have no idea what to do. The longest paper I had to write was a page long, the math teachers literally do the work for you, for English you can choose your own book. Group time is a joke...When parents visit the workshops they are supposed to attend it becomes all serious..