1. Internal Regulations

The following internal regulations are enforced in Desafio Jovem (Teen Challenge) therapeutic communities to ensure each community functions properly while considering the individual characteristics of each resident.

  1. Upon Admission
  2. The resident and all his possessions will be searched by two staff workers.
  3. If the resident is a minor, the search will be conducted in the presence of his legal guardian, whenever possible;
  4. All personal objects and money will be surrendered;
  5. The “Resident Program Manual” including the Internal Regulations, Terms of Agreement, etc.; will be read, signed and returned to the staff.
  6. Each one will bathe and change his/her clothes;
  7. Each one will be introduced to the other residents.
  • The Organization of Community Live

Fundamental Rules

To ensure and maintain the proper function of the therapeutic community, each resident must:

  • Accept the prohibition of using any kind of violence (verbal or physical);
  • Accept the prohibition of possessing or using drugs, tobacco or alcohol;
  • Accept the prohibition of using or keeping any kind of weapon;
  • Accept the prohibition of possessing or using medication not prescribed by the Desafio Jovem (Teen Challenge) medical staff;
  • Accept the prohibition of sexual intercourse or sexual contact of any kind;
  • Respect all members of the community and relate to them on a basis of truth and clarity;
  • The breaching of these rules might determine the immediate discharge from the program/community.

 General Rules

  • Every resident must participate in all activities in a prompt and timely manner:
  • A respectful attitude is required towards all medical staff members, as well as the staff supervisors, workers and any other member of the community;
  • All objects and clothes received from outside will be properly searched by the supervisor in charge;
  • The residents cannot be absent from the community without prior authorization from the Director of the Community;
  • When arriving at the community, after a weekend visit, all the resident’s belongings will be searched by the staff supervisor in charge;
  • Residents are not allowed to exchange or lend any objects or clothes to one another, without prior knowledge and authorization from one of the members of the medical staff;
  • Daily showers are mandatory;
  • During the 1st phase, the residents should always be accompanied while circulating within the community perimeters;
  • 3rd phase residents are allowed to go home for a weekend every two weeks. The first time, they will be accompanied by their counselor;
  • Diagnostic tests may be required of residents at any moment to verify the abuse of drugs or alcohol;
  • Residents are only allowed to use their cellphones and/or any other portable devices during weekend visits;
  • Specific Rules:

Phone use

  • The community phone will always be answered by a staff worker;
  • All residents, except those in the 1st phase, are allowed to make phone calls twice a week at a specific time of day to: immediate family or relatives, spouses or mates and/or any other person whose relationship is significant to the therapeutic process. Each of these must be previously approved  by the technical team;
  • The phone calls will last 10 to 15 minutes and will be paid by the resident.


  • All residents, except those in the 1st phase, may maintain mail communication with immediate family or relatives, spouses or mates and/or any other person whose relationship is significant to the therapeutic process. Each of these must be previously approved  by the technical team;
  • All letters will be read by the technical team before being sent;
  • All received letters will be opened and read in the presence of the staff supervisor on duty or the director of the community.


  • All residents, except those in the 1st phase, can receive visits;
  • All visitors shall be previously approved by the technical team. The visits will take place on Saturdays, from 15h00 to 17h00. Any exceptions should be previously authorized;
  • Visitors are not allowed to enter the lodging areas of residents without prior authorization;
  • Visitors are not allowed to smoke or use any kind of drugs or alcohol during visits;
  • No person that appears to be under the influence of any substance that alters his/her normal behavior will be allowed to enter the community facilities;


  • Money for personal expenses will always be turned over to a staff worker, to be kept in the resident’s personal account. The resident can receive the money for approved expenses after signing a requisition document stating the amount of money needed and what is it for;
  • All expenses regarding any litigation processes or specific health problems, are the entire responsibility of the resident, his/her family or the legal guardian;


  • All prescribed medicine will be kept by the technical team in a proper place and will be given to the residents by a staff worker according to a physician’s prescription.


  • Each resident is responsible to keep his/her bedroom clean and tidy;
  • Residents are not allowed to stay in their bedrooms after the usual resting hours/sleeping night time, unless the technical team says otherwise;
  • Residents are allowed to enter only their own bedrooms;
  • Residents are not permitted to keep food in their bedrooms;
  • Residents are not allowed to change the arrangement of the bedroom furniture without previous permission from the director of the community.


Considering that the therapeutic community exists for the purpose of treatment, all interaction between residents is intended to be therapeutic. Therefore the residents should:

  • Avoid isolation, though it is important to allow some individual introspective  moments;
  • Promote balanced and equitable relationships, between people from the same sex or from the opposite sex, namely:
    • To restrain oneself from talking in a low tone, not audible to the rest of the group;
    • To restrain oneself from exchanging any written messages
    •  To restrain oneself from walking only in pairs, with the exception of the 1st phase residents who always need to stay close to the resident colleague assigned to him.

Work Assignments

  • All work assignments are previously organized and afterwards distributed among the residents. Each resident is responsible to perform his daily tasks with the perspective of learning  and developing his skills;
  • If a work assignment is completed before the end of the work period, the resident is responsible to ask the staff worker in charge for a new task;
  • The area around a work site should always be clean and tidy at the end of the work period.

Social life

–     The residents should be provided with, or encouraged to, participate in social activities outside the Therapeutic Community, as a means of developing their social skills (impoverished and shaped by their drug/alcohol abuse), so they might progressively learn how to experience satisfaction without it being associated with any kind of substance abuse. These social leisure activities will take place at our partner’s local communities and consist of going out for the weekend with friends; anniversaries and Christmas parties, sports, cultural visits and nature walks, and so forth.

–      If these rules are not complied with, the technical team will work together with the resident to better understand his motivation, difficulties, and the consequences of his behavior and eventual loss of privileges.

  • Therapeutic Program

1st Phase:  Integration, Adaptation and Awareness (about 2 months)


  • To understand and integrate into the basic operation of the community;
  • To understand and accept the therapeutic program;
  • To gain awareness of the deterioration of his/her personal life, family  and professional life;
  • To learn and understand the needed transformation (conversion process);
  • To provide an answer to immediate needs, such as medical assistance, lodging, proper food, hygiene habits, and so forth;
  • To provide adaptation resources to the therapeutic program;
  • To work  through the hurtful/ unsuitable areas in therapy;
  • To benefit from psychiatric evaluation, if necessary;
  • To start or regain good work habits and motivation, by doing tasks suited to the resident’s physical and psychological conditions.

Specific Rules

Keeping in mind the specific goals of this early therapeutic phase, there is great concern with facilitating the resident’s integration. Therefore, the resident should accept that he/she is not allowed:

  • To circulate in the community or in the work areas on his/her own;
  • To make or receive phone calls;
  • To receive or send any correspondence;
  • To have visitors;
  • To leave the community facilities
  • To keep certain personal items, such as jewelry, photos, music, mobile phone, laptop, and so forth.

2nd Phase: Acquiring New Skills and Building Relationships (about 3 and a half months)


  • To reinforce the life transformation (conversion process)
  • To learn new ways of managing time, activities and interpersonal relationships;
  • To be more autonomous in taking care of him/herself in the areas of health, hygiene and personal belongings organization;
  • To learn how to relate with family again, and manage possible conflicts inherent to this process (to promote the re-construction of affective ties with the closest family);
  • To promote and develop his/her social competences, previously impoverished and shaped by substance abuse;
  • To provide leisure/entertainment activities that allows the resident to experience satisfaction without it being associated with substance abuse;
  • To carry on the therapeutic support, promoting the resources needed to efficiently manage adverse anxiety-causing circumstances;
  • To continue rebuilding work pace and habits.

Specific Rules (privileges)

  • To receive/ make two phone calls per week;
  • To receive/ send correspondence;
  • To receive visitors;
  • To keep some personal items;
  • To participate in some activities promoted by Desafio Jovem (Teen Challenge) outside the community.

3rd Phase: Skills Reinforcement, Beginning Process of Autonomy (about 3 and a half months)


  • To exercise and reinforce the skills and resources acquired to the present moment;
  • To assume  greater responsibility in time and money management, as well as personal failure;
  • To establish new, supportive relationships in the local church;
  • To promote contact with the outside world through time away from the community, first accompanied and afterwards alone.
  • To encourage greater autonomy, socially and occupationally;
  • To actively care for the reconstruction of proper relationships with family members, friends and other relevant people;
  • To establish medium and long term personal goals, and to plan ways to accomplish them.

Specific Rules (privileges)

  • To spend the weekend at his/her family home every two weeks;
  • To make/receive two phone calls per week;
  • To receive/send correspondence;
  • To go outside the community by him/herself to care for personal matters, if justifiable and after prior permission from the director of the community.

4th Phase: Insertion/Re-entry Process (about 3 months)


  • To reinforce the skills and resources acquired to the present moment;
  • To assume initiative of time and money management, as well on personal failure;
  • To reinforce the supportive relationships at the local church;
  • To assume greater autonomy, in social and occupational terms;
  • To establish an insertion/re-entry plan (to structure a new, meaningful and gratifying personal life project) and to develop the plan’s activities, according to the individual’s abilities, possible limitations and real interests.
  • To prepare the necessary conditions for the insertion/re-entry and to prevent relapse outside of residential care (lodging, food, financial and emotional support).

Specific Rules (privileges)

  • To spend all weekends at his/her family home;
  • To assist and participate in the activities promoted by his/her local church or/and support network, during the week;
  • To receive/make two phone calls per week;
  • To receive/send correspondence;
  • To go outside the community by him/herself for personal matters, if justifiable and after prior permission from the director of the community.

After successfully accomplishing the above stated requirements and staying for the minimum period established for each phase, the resident will be evaluated, before moving to the next phase. This evaluation will be conducted by the technical team together with the resident, and his/her resident colleagues.

In the evaluation to the 4th phase passage, the resident should, in advance, present a written plan, specifying his goals for the next phase – his social insertion/ re-entry – which should include his own perspectives and expectations at several levels, including academics, employment, housing, family and free time.