Enrollment Process

Makana enrollment process

We are honored that you would consider working with us to help elevate your family. We are committed to helping your son or daughter have a transformational experience that will instill within them a sustained, intrinsic drive to succeed and grow. We’re grateful for the opportunity to serve both parents and child with an opportunity to change and reunite.

We understand that finding the best help for your teen can feel overwhelming. We are here to guide you through this journey. Placing your child in a stranger’s care requires tremendous trust. Our team is ready to answer your questions and help make you feel as confident as possible. Our goal is to help you find a perfect fit for your child and help you to make the best decision possible during this uncertain time.

Student Profile

Qualifying Factors

To qualify for admission to Makana, your child and family must meet the following criteria:

  • Student is between the ages of 14 and 17.
  • Student must undergo and pass a physical evaluation prior to enrolling to ensure that they can safely participate in the physical components of the academy.
  • Demonstrate a need for help overcoming issues such as academic, behavioral, substance abuse, and interpersonal challenges while at home, in school, and in the community.
  • Family can pinpoint a time in their child’s life where they were excelling, full of joy, and on a great path.
  • Families must be an active participant in the child’s treatment. This is an essential part of the program and in reuniting the family. Refusal to be an active part of your child’s treatment can be a reason for denial in Makana.
  • If your child is currently on psychotropic medication or other medications it will be reviewed by our medical team prior to acceptance.
  • Students who have graduated from a wilderness therapy program are exceptional candidates. Our program offers an effective continuation of the foundations initiated in an outdoor program.

Disqualifying Factors

Unfortunately, Makana is not equipped to accept certain students who are experiencing or demonstrating:

  • Actively self-harming or exhibiting suicidal/ homicidal behavior.
  • Extreme aggression
  • Eating disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Detoxification
  • Active hallucinations
  • Certain medical conditions including, but not limited to, diabetes, active epilepsy, hypoglycemia, severe asthma, and severe allergies.

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."

– Lao Tzu

Request a
Discovery Call

Starting the applicant journey at Makana is as simple as filling out a short form. Once we have your pre-application you will be connected with a member of our admissions team on the phone and ensure that we are the right fit for your family.

Makana family with graduating student

Enrollment Process

Pre Application

We’re eager to talk with you about the possibilities Makana can offer! In preparation for our initial phone call, we request some basic information so we can be prepared to have a productive discussion. Simply begin by providing your contact information above. After the pre-application has been submitted you’ll either be given an option to schedule a call or directed to additional information about your eligibility.

Initial Discovery Call

We’re interested in your story. We’ll do a lot of listening and gathering information to determine your family’s suitability for our program.


Our team will clinically and medically review your pre-app and details from the initial call to determine whether or not we feel your family is an appropriate fit. We aim to review all completed applications within twenty-four hours.


Upon approval, you will be sent admission forms and we will coordinate an enrollment date and logistics once all the paperwork is in place.


When you arrive on campus, you and your child will be introduced to our team that you will be working with throughout this journey. You will speak to your therapist, teachers, and home mentors as you tour our campus.

Parent Course &
Ongoing Communication

After your child is settled, you will receive login information for our parent portal in which you will receive weekly updates, photos, treatment plans, and other important communications. You will also begin participation in our parent program that includes a weekly coaching session and video lessons.

Funding Options

Makana charges a daily rate of $460 per day. Prior to admission, we will require a non-refundable enrollment fee of $2,500 and a deposit for the first 60 days. After this initial fee and deposit, we will bill families monthly.

Private Pay

We understand the burden of getting treatment covered can feel impossible. There are lending providers that specifically work with these types of situations to make funds readily available to help financially manage these crises. We encourage families to reach out to their local banks and lending agencies to see what kind of resources are available to financially support them.

One such lender is Prosper Healthcare Lending, which is a financial company that provides loans to families specifically for behavioral healthcare needs. They help people afford the treatments they need by offering a healthier alternative to high-cost credit cards. You can visit their website here at Prosper Healthcare.


As a courtesy to our student’s families, Makana will provide you with the necessary documentation required by your insurance carrier for possible reimbursement upon request. However, Makana will not actively pursue, advocate, or obtain insurance claims on your family’s behalf. At your request, Makana will provide recommendations to known third party claim specialists who may be able to assist you with this.

Makana Leadership Academy is considered an out-of-network provider and unable to guarantee coverage of services or accept insurance payments directly. Some services provided at Makana may qualify for a medical tax deduction. While Makana does not provide tax advice, we will provide you documentation at your request for specific accounting needs. Please contact your admissions coordinator for further assistance.

Post Adoption Services

For students who have been adopted within the United States by their families there is an alternative funding source called Post Adoption Services that can help offset the cost of our services or cover it entirely. To find out if your family is eligible to receive this funding, contact a social worker in the county that finalized the adoption for your child.

Ask for information regarding post-adoption funding for residential treatment placement. Let them know that you've already looked at public options that are available through your child's Medicaid and that you do not believe that those options will provide the best treatment outcome for your child. Once this conversation is initiated an admissions representative can work with you to provide the required information to the county to help complete the process.

California Department
of Education (CDE)
Non-Public School (NPS) Funding

California and select other states around the country, school districts can provide coverage for residential treatment services to families for students in need. To begin this journey, families will need to contact the school that their child attends and request an IEP meeting (Individualized Education Program) for residential placement. The school district will walk you through a series of steps that must be completed before being considered for residential placement.

Makana is a residential boarding school that is an option for California school districts. The school district will often give parents a list of four to eight recommendations once residential placement is offered. What most parents don't realize is that they're able to pursue other options that are not on the recommended list. Once a family has been approved for residential placement, Makana can help finalize the process for placement with us.

Request a

Starting the applicant journey at Makana is as simple as filling out a short form. Once we have your pre-application you will be connected with a member of our admissions team on the phone and ensure that we are the right fit for your family.

Utah Department of Human Services
Utah State Board of Education
California Department of Education
Post Adoption Service
Greenwood Associates