Pediatric Day Treatment Program

Pediatric Day Treatment Program

Specialized partial hospitalization program (PHP) for youth with significant mental health challenges

The Children’s Health Pediatric Day Treatment Program can help your child function better at home, school, and in social settings.

Children’s Health℠ is home to a team that provides specialized care for children and teens ages 4 to 17 experiencing significant mental health or behavioral difficulties. Your child isn’t the only one who benefits. Our program is unique in that we require a high level of parental involvement. Our parent-focused educational classes and family therapy help to improve your interactions and communication with your child. We help parents and children make the changes needed to improve life at home and in other settings.

Children’s Health is among a select few centers in the country providing intensive behavioral health therapies in a highly structured clinical setting. We keep our numbers small – serving about a dozen patients at a time – to give children and teens the individualized attention they need.

Day Treatment is a type of partial hospitalization program (PHP) that takes place five days a week for approximately 3 to 4 weeks total. The program starts at 8:30 a.m. each day and ends at 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. On Fridays, the program ends at 3:15 p.m. Treatment doesn’t stop when you and your child are home. Your family will practice and reinforce skills learned in the program on a daily basis so these skills become habits.

Conditions We Treat

  • School Avoidance
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
  • Functional neurological symptom disorder

Who can attend the Day Treatment Program?

Our experts help children and teens who have had a decline in function in at least one setting due to mental health symptoms. Most of these children have been receiving therapy or counseling and psychiatric medications but continue to struggle.

To provide effective care, we separate children into groups based on their age and maturity:

  • Child group for children ages 4 to 12 years
  • Adolescent group for mature tweens and teens ages 12 to 17 years

What if my child has both medical and mental health conditions?

As one of the country’s leading children’s hospitals, Children’s Health has the unique ability to provide Day Treatment services to children who need medical interventions or monitoring for serious, but stable, health conditions. With your consent, we can coordinate with your child’s medical team to ensure they are aware of the mental health care your child is receiving.

We have at least one registered nurse as well as a medical doctor who is board certified in child and adolescent psychiatry onsite every day. Our medical expertise means you can trust your child’s care to us.

We help children who have complex physical health conditions or needs, such as:

What happens while in the Day Treatment program?

The goal of Day Treatment is to stabilize your child, allowing them to safely function at home, school, and in social settings. We take a full comprehensive approach to treating your child. Our psychiatrist will assess your child, diagnose specific mental health condition(s), and discuss medications, if recommended. Your child will participate in a range of therapies aimed at learning new skills to better manage their emotions and behaviors. Staff members closely supervise your child throughout the highly structured days. We also work with your family and school to improve your child’s ability to be successful in these areas.

After graduating from Day Treatment, it is crucial that your child continue outpatient therapy and psychiatry appointments (if medication is prescribed). We work closely with your child’s psychiatrist, therapist, and other outpatient care team members to ensure ongoing treatment success after discharge. If your child doesn’t have outpatient providers, our team can provide referrals.

Day Treatment services include:

Psychiatric services

Our child and adolescent psychiatrist meets with your child regularly throughout treatment. The psychiatrist assesses your child’s mood and behavior and recommends medications as appropriate. You have the opportunity to meet with your child’s doctor to discuss all medication recommendations so you can better understand benefits as well as potential side effects.

Family therapy

You and your child will work together in family therapy with a licensed clinical therapist or clinical therapist associate. Your family therapist can also help with community referrals and recommendations for ongoing treatment.

You will meet once a week for a family therapy session to work on:

  • Setting and achieving treatment goals
  • Improving family communication
  • Managing behavioral or safety issues at home
  • Maintaining structure within the home
  • Creating a discharge plan for aftercare

Milieu therapy

Milieu therapy focuses on providing a supportive environment that helps your child feel safe as they learn and practice coping skills within the program. Our specially trained milieu therapists work with your child as they learn to safely manage strong emotions. Milieu therapy uses positive reinforcements and behavioral interventions to encourage healthier ways of behaving and thinking.

Your child will use a point sheet while at the Day Treatment program and at home. This system helps determine earned privileges, reinforces desired behaviors, and promotes consistent progress.

Structured group therapy

Your child participates in different structured group therapy sessions each day to help improve social skills and coping skills. Group therapy may include:

  • Expressive arts
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Coping skills training
  • Music therapy
  • Recreational therapy
  • Social skills (child group)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills (adolescent group)

Educational support

Our on-site teacher and educational case manager work with your child’s school to get assignments and ensure your child doesn’t fall behind. Your child receives two hours of in-class teaching instruction every day.

Our education team also works with the school to ease your child’s return. They help your child’s teachers learn how to reinforce improved behaviors in the school setting. When appropriate, we can assist with transitioning your child back to school while still enrolled in the program.

What’s your family’s role in Day Treatment?

Our Day Treatment program requires a high level of involvement from you. Your participation is key to helping your child improve and to their continued success. You’ll work closely with your child’s treatment team and have daily access to team members.

You can expect the following:

  • Daily goals groups: A parent or guardian must participate in our morning goals group and afternoon wrap-up group. These required 15-minute multi-family group sessions take place immediately at the beginning and end of the treatment day.
  • Weekly family therapy: You will meet with your child’s family therapist once a week for 45 minutes. Your child may or may not join you in each therapy session.
  • Parent education classes: We strongly encourage participation in our parent education classes. Classes are from 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
  • Shadowing: We may recommend some parents shadow a team member as they model how to respond to and modify a child’s behavior.

What’s the cost of Day Treatment?

Most insurance plans cover Day Treatment and behavioral health services at Children’s Health. Our team will provide information about your benefits and coverage before your child starts treatment. We also encourage you to check with your insurance provider to get accurate information about your specific policy coverage. Learn more about insurance cost estimates.

How do I enroll my child in the Day Treatment Program?

Your child’s psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, primary care provider or other healthcare professional can refer your child to our program.

To start the process, please call 214-456-8899 and select the Day Treatment option. You can expect these steps:

  1. Our intake coordinator will gather information about your child. You will need to complete program questionnaires and may be requested to provide outside records.
  2. Our leadership team will review your child’s information.
  3. A care team member will contact you to schedule an intake appointment or provide alternative treatment recommendations.

Meet the Care Team

Our Day Treatment team includes mental health and behavioral specialists with the expertise to improve your child’s symptoms and their ability to function in the world.