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

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

  • 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.

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. 360 Guide

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 to adolescents ages 13 to 18. The length of treatment is flexible depending upon the needs of each client, however treatment typically lasts for 45 days. Detox is not offered on-site.


According to the center's website, the program is designed for teens who have serious behavioral, social, and/or educational problems as a result of their substance abuse or co-occurring disorders.

Programming includes intensive individual counseling, group therapy, addiction education, and art therapy, along with workshops on topics such as life skills, anger management, and relapse prevention. 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. However, the two loved ones polled by at the time of this writing gave one and two out of five stars respectively for the staff's level of training and experience.


There is currently no information provided by the facility regarding its living arrangements and related offerings. However, the four individuals surveyed by at the time of this writing gave accommodations and amenities an average three out of five star rating.


The two loved ones questioned by at the time of this writing provided positive feedback.

One alum gave five out of five stars for treatment effectiveness, accommodations and amenities, and meals and nutrition. "Amazing people and counseling," they wrote.

The other former client gave four stars for treatment effectiveness and meals and nutrition along with three stars for accommodations and amenities. "They have a great staff that work with you. However, the food was not good. For me I received a clean and sober life," they wrote.


The two loved ones polled by at the time of this writing provided mostly generally negative feedback.

One anonymous loved one took issue with the facility’s apparent lack of aftercare services,. “When she left, the only aftercare was a sheet with AA resources. Nothing else,” they wrote.

Another anonymous loved one expressed dissatisfaction with the clinical care. "They had a friendly front office staff," they wrote. Poor organized sessions... She was in for 21 days and fell back the day she was released... NOT IMPRESSED."


According to the facility's website, 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.

Published on July 2017

User Reviews

Review this Center

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  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
Strengths:The staff. Weakness:The program

  • 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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