Northlight Family Services provides educational consulting, life coaching, and counseling services for families considering using residential schools, therapeutic programs, or alternatives to college. We match your family to the resources that fit best. During challenging times, we help you choose the optimal path forward and provide support and guidance for you, your family members, and your struggling child to learn, heal, and grow.

We serve families nationally and abroad and work with pre-teens, teens, and young adults into their early thirties. We have strong relationships with programs all over the United States, as well as Costa Rica, South Africa, and Israel.


"Your personal attention to our individual family needs, your vast knowledge of options and educational resources enabled us to make these excruciating decisions." -- Kelly


Northlight clients range from highly motivated and successful students who are bored with school to those struggling with bad grades, lack of motivation, and/or learning disabilities. Behaviors range from mild self-esteem issues to defiant, oppositional, angry, and aggressive acting out. Some of our clients are emotionally strong while others are depressed, anxious, compulsive, self-destructive, or suicidal. Some have never touched a drug, and others are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, Internet, and/or eating.

For adolescents, I help families choose:
  • boarding school
  • high school semester program
  • school for learning disabilities
  • wilderness program
  • residential treatment center
  • home-based solution
For young adults, I help families choose:
  • gap year program
  • alternative to college
  • transitional / step down program
  • wilderness program
  • residential treatment
  • independent living / coaching program

Most of my referrals come from current or former clients. This is a result of the caring, long-term relationship that I build with each family.

Educational Consulting

The essence of good consulting work is helping you, the parents, make a wise and informed decision about what to do and where to go. As a good matchmaker on your behalf, I have a thorough knowledge of programs and the the skills, experience, and ability to discern the needs of your child.

What makes a good match?
Matchmaking is the essence of my work, and I am skilled at it. I take the time to really listen to clients, to perceive the subtleties, nuances, and patterns of the child and his or her family.

A program needs to have the right services, curriculum, and therapeutic modalities to help you and your child. In addition, good programs have appropriately trained staff and strong safety protocols. But the real success of the placement depends on the fit of your child’s personality with the individuals and culture of the program. My expertise, diligent research, and years of experience allow me to match your child to the resources and people that fit best.

How will I work with your child or young adult?

I’m a good listener and thorough in my efforts to understand your child. I’m often told often that I “get it” where others have not. You get my personal attention and commitment to your family. I stay with you to the end of the placement and do everything I can to support a successful outcome.

Thorough knowledge of programs
I stay current with schools and programs. A large part of my work is traveling to schools, attending conferences and events, and keeping my ear to the ground when it comes to schools and therapeutic programs. I have more than 1200 programs in my database; I’ve made 900 site visits. I’ve placed nearly 1000 students since 1999.

A more soulful and whole family approach
While I’m a strong believer in structure and boundaries, I have a preference for programs that take care to nurture and support the soul and spirit of your child. I help you find programs that have the utmost respect for your child.

When I recommend a school to your family, I am referring your whole family to the school, not just your child. I do not believe in a model in which one family member is sent away in the hope that he or she will come home “fixed.” I believe in helping and including the whole family.

Advantages of working with an educational consultant
Families working with consultants often get better service and attention at programs. Programs are familiar with me and I am familiar with the programs, their teachers, and their therapists. Because of this relationship, I help you move more successfully through the process of using a school or program. I am your advocate at all times, guiding you and your child to a positive outcome. With my help, you will spend your money more wisely and get the full value of the program and support services.

Please contact us for references. Our clients are our best representatives, and we are happy to put you in touch with them.


"You are the thread that runs through all of this, and we count the day that [we] got your name as one of the best days in our life as a family. Every resource you have directed us to has been just the program or person [our son] needed at that point in time ... There is no way that we could have helped [him] the way we wanted to without the wonderful people you brought into our lives." -- Monica

The Consulting Process


During the intake interview, I obtain a thorough history, gather records, and collect necessary paperwork. A separate appointment is scheduled to meet with your child individually. Please provide copies of all school records and testing data. To get a full picture of your child's strengths, challenges, and needs, I will review the records and conduct interviews with selected individuals (e.g., teachers, counselors, coaches). I will recommend a psychologist if additional testing is required.


After gathering information and determining the optimal type of environment for your child, I provide a list of possible programs or schools. Every family is different. Some want to do their own research and others want more guidance from me. Whatever your style is, this phase is about getting you to a wise and informed decision, and I will do what it takes to help you make that decision. Once a program is selected and space availability is determined, you are responsible for submitting the application and deposit to secure the available space. I will support you and expedite the application process to the best of his ability.


I maintain a relationship with you and the staff at your child’s program throughout your child's time there. In the case of therapeutic placements, this includes scheduled updates from your child’s primary therapist, scheduled calls with you, the occasional conference call with you and your child’s therapist, and other calls when needed. In the case of non-therapeutic placements, we will determine a schedule for regular contact.


Our consulting contract includes basic coaching for transition and reunification after a residential school or program – a crucial part of the process. This coaching is given in several 30–60 minute phone calls with the parents and program personnel. This is not meant to be a comprehensive transition planning service. Those services are an additional cost.

Support Groups, Coaching, Workshops, Transition Planning

Many families supplement the educational consulting contract and take advantage of our additional services for parent support, transition planning, and/or experiential workshops. Contracts for these services are created on an individual family basis.



"Rob has guided, counseled, and coached us through numerous difficult situations, and because of his wisdom and experience, he was able to quickly and clearly identify core issues that are the sources of conflict ... Ultimately, his insight and knowledge of family patterns allowed us to resolve problems, keep focused on long-term goals, and make positive changes that have strengthened our family relationships and improved communication"



contact us

44 Spruce Rd., Golden, CO 80401