Youth Day Treatment for Mental Health
Mental health day treatment services for youth are meant to relieve behavioral and emotional challenges. They require a doctor’s referral. Services happen in a non-residential setting, meaning youth don’t stay the night.
Mental health day treatment provider locations
Use the map to find a day treatment provider near you. Contact the provider to learn more about their program.
Day treatment services for youth
Expand the section that applies to you to learn more.
Mental health day treatment for youth takes place in a safe, structured, supportive, and therapeutic space. All youth who are admitted get an in-depth evaluation of their needs. A licensed clinician completes the evaluation. This process helps create a personal treatment plan.
Who is eligible
To qualify for treatment, youth must meet certain requirements:
- They must have a primary psychiatric diagnosis of mental illness or severe emotional disturbance.
- They can’t benefit from a less restrictive treatment program.
- It’s likely that they will benefit from program services.
- They meet at least one of these criteria:
- Show major dysfunction in two or more basic parts of life. Require program services to gain or restore skills needed to perform well in those areas.
- Need a transition period. This could be from a hospital, residential treatment center, or other institutional setting. Transition time will help with returning to live in the community.
- Have periods of acute crisis or other severe stress. These may require a hospital or institution without the level of services the program provides.
- They meet program criteria:
- Age range
- Funding restrictions
- Source of referral
- Other requirements for the specific program design
What services are offered
The day treatment youth receive depends on their personal care plan. Highly skilled professionals provide all services. They are focused on helping youth live their best lives. Services may include:
- A structured therapeutic setting.
- Psychiatric or psychological consultation.
- Guidance from a doctor or nurse.
- Initial assessment by a mental health professional.
- Development and application of a personal treatment plan.
- Occupational therapy and/or structured recreational or vocational services.
- One-on-one and/or family therapy.
- One-on-one and/or group counseling by a mental health professional.
- Ongoing case reviews.
- Social work services. Includes case management, community liaison, family contact, and interagency communication.
- Discharge planning.
Aftercare follow-up after the program is complete.
The family's role
When a young person has emotional or behavioral challenges, it affects all family members. With day treatment, we involve all caregivers and family members for the entire process. We ask that caregivers be a leader in the child’s treatment planning. We share all assessments and treatment plans with the family.
Day treatment staff are there to offer reassurance, education, and support for the family. Family therapy can be a way to learn more about the reasons behind the child’s behavior. It can also help caregivers find effective parenting skills that benefit the child.
We certify day treatment for youth providers based on Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 40. There are two types of certification:
- Mental Health, Day Treatment Services for Children (DHS 40): Initial
- Mental Health, Day Treatment Services for Children (DHS 40): Renewal
For more on rules and regulations, view:
- DCTS Action Memo 2020-14—Mental Health Day Treatment for Youth Certification (PDF)
- Prohibited Practices in the Application of Emergency Safety Interventions with Children and Adolescents in Community Based Programs and Facilities, P-01196 (PDF)
- Seclusion and Restraint Report, F-01977—Programs must use this form to report any of these events within 24 hours of the event:
- Involvement of law enforcement
- Physical restraint
For popular resources, view:
- Children’s System of Care Foundations of Wisconsin Wraparound Video Series
- Effective Child Therapy—Evidence-based Mental Health Treatment for Children and Adolescents
- PACEs Connection
- Resilient Wisconsin
- Six Core Strategies for Reducing Seclusion and Restraint Use (PDF) —This source is from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.