Arapahoe House - StepWise in Thornton, CO

Overall Rating

(3 of 5)
Treatment Effectiveness
Accommodations & Amenities
Meals & Nutrition
8801 Lipan Street
Thornton CO 80260

Arapahoe House - StepWise Philosophy

Arapahoe House’s StepWise program is designed for adolescents ages 12-17 who exhibit severe behavioral, social or educational problems caused by substance use and/or mental health disorders. StepWise offers individual, group and family counseling, job skills training, life skills development and anger management techniques in a structured environment that also provides 24-hour care. Educational support is also provided through an accredited on-site school for those working toward a high school diploma or GED.

Areas of Specialization

  • Intensive Outpatient (IOP)
    Patients who undergo intensive outpatient treatment continue to live at home and sometimes go to school or work while participating in a highly structured treatment protocol that is focused on ending substance abuse. Programs vary in terms of how much treatment patients receive, how often and for how long. Some facilities design individualized intensive outpatient treatment programs.

  • Outpatient
    Outpatient treatment describes all addiction treatment that is not residential. Patients live at home while undergoing rehab.

Facility Highlights

Intensive Individual Therapy

Job Skills Training

Recreational Activities

Meet the Staff

Angela Bornemann, MA, LPC, CAC III

Co-Director of Clinical Services

Photo of Angela Bornemann, MA, LPC, CAC III

Angela Bornemann is currently co-director of services with Arapahoe House, Colorado’s largest substance abuse treatment entity. Angela has been working in the substance abuse field since 1996 and has worked with various populations including homeless individuals, women, pregnant women, adolescents, children and families. She has extensive experience developing and implementing gender responsive programming and trauma informed services. Angela also has experience as a project manager for several federal grants through Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Children’s Bureau, a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network for adolescent and family treatment and is currently project director for a SAMHSA Pregnant and Postpartum Women (PPW) project. Angela Bornemann holds a bachelor’s degree in human services with an addictions emphasis and a master’s degree in community counseling. She is also a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and certified level III addictions counselor in Colorado.

BJ Dean, MA, LAC

Co-Director Clinical Services

Photo of BJ Dean, MA, LAC

BJ Dean has been with Arapahoe House since 2005 and in the addictions field since 1976 having worked in all levels of care, including detoxification, residential, outpatient and senior management positions. Before coming to Arapahoe House, she was the executive director of Island Grove Regional Treatment Center, a community-based alcohol and drug rehabilitation center in Colorado with multiple sites. She is a founding member of the Colorado State Association of Substance Use Providers and served as its first president. BJ was also the founder and co-manager of Compass Behavioral Health Systems, a managed service organization (MSO) that oversaw regional alcohol and drug services in northeast Colorado. She later joined Signal Behavioral Health (a Denver based MSO) and served as a board member. BJ was a member of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network Steering Committee from 2000-2005, where the focus was bringing evidenced-based treatment into community programs. She is a certified trainer for addiction classes through the Division of Behavioral Health and taught at community colleges, universities as well community groups for over ten years. BJ was awarded the state “Excellence in Treatment” award in 1996 from the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division and holds a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in rehabilitation counseling. Editorial Review

Review by Contributors


In Thorton, Colo., just 10 miles outside of Denver, Arapahoe House’s Stepwise program offers residential substance abuse and mental health treatment for adolescents ages 13 to 18. The program focuses on teens who have serious behavioral, social, and/or educational issues as a result of their drug and/or alcohol use, or as a result of one of more co-occurring psychiatric disorders (such as depression, PTSD, or bipolar disorder). Length of the program is flexible depending upon the needs of each client, and on average treatment lasts 45 days, with no detoxification services for teens on-site.


Intensive individual counseling, group therapy, addiction education and art therapy, plus workshops on topics such as life skills, anger management, and relapse prevention, form the core of most treatment plans. Daily recreational activities are offered, and teens without high school diplomas may attend the facility’s on-site accredited high school to get their GED.

Job training services are provided for older clients, as well as sessions for family members. Multi-member therapy groups are also offered, the frequency of which is determined by the clinical team on a case-by-case basis.


There is currently no information provided on the facility's website or otherwise regarding its treatment staff.


The facility does not publish details of its amenities online, but reviewers gave a sub-par average of two out of five stars in the category of accommodations.


Few alumni reviews are currently available for this facility, however one anonymous former client did weigh in, reporting to “They have a great staff that work with you. However, the food was not good. For me I received a clean and sober life."


Reviews from loved ones are generally negative. One anonymous loved one took issue with the facility’s apparent lack of aftercare services, telling “When she left, the only aftercare was a sheet with AA resources. Nothing else.” And another anonymous loved one expressed dissatisfaction with the clinical care, telling that while “they had a friendly front office staff,” the program offered “poor organized sessions." The reviewer added: "I and other family members attended some meetings and found them lacking in any substance.”


Arapahoe House accepts Medicaid as well as private insurance from most major providers, including but not limited to Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, and Value Options. A sliding fee scale is also available.

Updated August 2015

Published on January 2016

User Reviews

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  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
Amazing people and counseling.

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
They have a great staff that work with you. However, the food was not good. For me I received a clean and sober life.

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
They had a friendly front office staff. Poor organized sessions. "Former" drug addicts giving pep talks I found inappropriate. At the end asking family members for donations was a downfall as well. It was between 6 - 8 years ago one of my loved ones was a patient. She was in for 21 days and fell back the day she was released. I and other family members attended some meetings and found them lacking in any substance. It seemed like they were run by bikers asking for donations. NOT IMPRESSED.

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
When she left, the only aftercare was a sheet with AA resources. Nothing else.

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