Volunteers of America Dakotas

Volunteers of America Dakotas


A nonprofit, faith-based community service organization, Volunteers of America, Dakota (VOA), provides a broad continuum of care for adults and adolescents struggling with substance use, mental health, and co-occurring disorders. The Heisler Treatment Center houses VOA, Dakota’s core behavioral health programs, including intensive outpatient programs (IOP) for adults and residential rehab for adolescents. Women who are living with chemical dependency while pregnant or parenting may also receive specialized treatment at the New Start facility. In addition to behavioral health services, VOA, Dakota offers programming for homeless and developmentally disabled populations and for children and families.


According to its website, VOA services – which have been offered in South Dakota since the early 20th century – are based on Christian principles, but clients are not required to participate in religious activities.

Most individuals seeking treatment for chemical dependency will begin the process with substance use evaluations at the Heisler facility. Walk-in service is available one morning a week and appointments on five days. Adolescents ages 12 to 18 may be referred for up to 60 days of residential treatment, or for intensive outpatient therapy. Adult and adolescent IOPs meet for a total of 50 to 60 hours over six to seven weeks, incorporating individual counseling, education, and skill development.

During residential rehab, adolescents may also address co-occurring mental health issues. The outpatient adolescent program utilizes a Matrix Model which is focused on reducing risky behaviors. Young adults, ages 18 to 20, may participate in a diversion class using the 12-hour Prime for Life curriculum, which is also risk reduction-oriented.

The New Start for Women residential program addresses substance use, mental and physical health, and legal issues. In addition to evidence-based therapy, women participate in GED prep and training sessions for job and life skills, communication, and parenting.

Counseling is offered as aftercare for adults and adolescents who have completed a VOA structure treatment program. Additional substance use services include community educational forums and safe drivers classes.


Job descriptions posted on the facility’s website indicate that master’s level addiction counselors are preferred and certification is required. Interns are also employed. The staff includes a Native American cultural coordinator and advocate. In addition, several staff members are commissioned Christian ministers.


The facility’s main site in Sioux Falls, which houses residential and outpatient programs, is located in a mixed commercial and industrial neighborhood.

The New Start program is a 24-hour, secure site where daily phone calls and visiting hours encourage family involvement in the recovery process. No other information regarding living arrangements or related offerings is provided by VOA, Dakotas.


At the time of this writing, Best-rehabs.com has received survey responses from one staff member and no alumni, friends, or family members. The sole former employee, reviewing the youth residential program, provided generally low ratings for most aspects of treatment. They would not recommend the program, based on mediocre or unsatisfactory counseling options, staff training and experience, and co-occurring treatment. Accommodations were also overall disappointing. The respondent gave their highest rating for the facility’s affordability, with four out of five stars.

Despite the Dakotas Volunteers of America being in operation for nearly a century, very little feedback is available on secondary review sites, and none on the substance use programs.

Reviews of other VOA, Dakotas services, such as an after school youth activity program, are favorable. Six Google reviews averaged a rating of 4.8 out of five stars for the Bowden Youth Center. Parents characterized the environment as enjoyable, staff as caring, and services as affordable or free.[1]


There is currently no information provided on the facility’s website regarding its costs. HealthGrove and CiteHealth both indicate that Medicaid and military insurance are accepted. VOA is a nonprofit organization.

[1] https://goo.gl/3nPSAm

Volunteers of America Dakotas Reviews

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
  • At least the adolescents might absorb something. But it is not a full treatment center. They are not set up like a real treatment center. The staff are there for the adolescents. The program it self needs to focus more on recovery instead of chores. Work more on why the substance has such a grip on them give them knowledge they can use to identify why or how they may relapse. Encourage/help them to understand themselves, feelings, emotions etc