Youth mental health day treatment services are designed to alleviate behavioral and emotional challenges. These services are provided in a non-residential setting based on the prescription of a physician.
Providers of mental health day treatment for youth
Use the map below to find a provider near you. Contact the provider to learn more about their program.
Select one of the following options for more information on youth mental health day treatment services.
Information for families
Youth mental health day treatment is provided in a safe, structured, supportive, and therapeutic environment. Upon admission, each young person receives an in-depth evaluation of their needs completed by a licensed clinician. This evaluation is used to assist with the development of an individualized treatment plan.
- Child or adolescent has a primary psychiatric diagnosis of mental illness or severe emotional disturbance.
- Child or adolescent is unable to obtain sufficient benefit from a less restrictive treatment program.
- There is a reasonable likelihood that the child/adolescent will benefit from the services offered by the program.
- Child or adolescent meets one of the following criteria:
- Exhibits significant dysfunction in two or more basic domains of life and requires the services offered by the program in order to acquire or restore the skills necessary to perform adequately in those areas.
- Needs a period of transition from a hospital, residential treatment center, or other institutional setting as part of the process of returning to live in the community.
- Experiences a period of acute crisis or other severe stress that may require hospitalization or institutional placement without the level of services provided by the program.
- The child or adolescent meets program criteria regarding source of referral, funding restrictions, age range of children served, and client characteristics for which the program has been specifically designed.
- Written consent of the child or adolescent’s parent or guardian, if the child is 14 years of age or older.
Each child or adolescent's experience with day treatment is unique based on their personalized plan of care. Services may include:
- A structured therapeutic setting
- Psychiatric or psychological consultation
- Physician or nurse oversight
- Individual and/or family therapy
- Social work services, including: case management, community liaison, family contact, and interagency communication
- Occupational therapy and/or structures recreational or vocational services
- Individual and/or group counseling by a qualified mental health professional
- Initial assessment by a qualified mental health professional
- Development and implementation of an individualized treatment plan
- Ongoing case reviews
- Discharge planning
- Aftercare follow-up upon completion of the program
All services are provided by highly skilled professionals dedicated to helping the child or adolescent live their best life.
When a young person experiences emotional or behavioral challenges, all family members are affected. Day treatment programs involve parents and other family members throughout the treatment process, and ask that parents be a leader in their child’s treatment planning. Day treatment staff is encouraged to offer reassurance, education, and support to all family members. Family therapy provides opportunities for parents and other family members to learn more about the reasons behind the child’s behavior and learn effective parenting skills to assist their child. Assessments and treatment plans are shared with parents.
Information for service providers
How to become a certified provider
The Division of Quality Assurance regulates providers of youth mental health day treatment.
Rules and memos
- Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 40
- 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 reporting
Programs should report all incidences of seclusion, physical restraint, injury, and involvement of law enforcement within 24 hours of the incident occurring. Use this online form to meet this reporting requirement.
Frequently requested resources
- ACEs Connection
- Effective child therapy (American Psychological Association)
- Resilient Wisconsin
- Six Core Strategies for Reducing Seclusion and Restraint Use© (National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors)
Know your rights
There are rules to ensure the privacy and dignity of people receiving mental health day treatment for youth services are protected. Learn more about Wisconsin's client rights law.