New Children’s Partial Hospitalization Program Fills a Gap in Treatment - By: Natalie Garcia, LMHC, Clinical Director for Outpatient Therapy and Admission Services

January 24th, 2017

We are very excited about our new Children’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), which serves teens 13 to 17 years old. This is the age range of most minors in our Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit which is where many of the participants in the PHP will come from. The Children’s PHP is an intensive therapeutic day program consisting of individual and family intervention and support that allows children to spend evenings at home.

To a large extent, our PHP functions as a step-down for minors discharged from our crisis unit. The crisis unit is a very intensive inpatient emergency mental health setting. Until now, a gap existed between this 24-hour level of care and the once- or twice-weekly therapy sessions minors typically have after leaving our crisis unit. Although they’re no longer in crisis, many still need more intensive treatment. At the PHP level of care, they benefit from daily therapeutic services and support for themselves and their family.

The voluntary program is intensive: Teens participate five days a week for six hours a day. It’s medically supervised, with nurses and psychiatrists on the treatment team. Each day, adolescents participate in group and have individual and family therapy sessions multiple times per week.

The Children’s PHP will also be preventative. Our hope is that this program can prevent crises from happening, and therefore, prevent admission to a crisis unit or a residential treatment program. For example, if we see an escalation of symptoms in a minor already involved with our services, and those services are no longer supportive enough, we can now consider PHP as the next level of care.

Because PHP is a day program, participants won’t be attending school. So we’re collaborating with Collier County Schools to develop educational resources on-site that meet these children’s needs. While enrolled in PHP, clients will have access to online school assignments. And when they’re ready to return to school, a case manager will work with families and schools on an individualized re-entry plan.

We believe that the PHP will reduce recidivism back into the crisis unit. In addition, its presence in our community means that families will no longer feel that a residential long-term program – possibly far from home — is their only option.

The program will launch in February and will be located in our new Children’s Outpatient Building.

DLC New Wing

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