Important questions to ask

The following are important question to ask when looking for a prospective substance abuse treatment facility or service.

  1. Why do you believe this treatment in this program is indicated for my child? How does it compare to other programs or services which are available?
  2. What are the credentials and experience of the members of the treatment team, and will the team include a child and adolescent psychiatrist with knowledge and skills in substance abuse treatment?
  3. What treatment approaches does this program use regarding chemical dependency; detoxification; abstinence; individual, family, and group therapy; use of medications; a twelve-step program; mutual-help groups; relapse prevention; and a continuing recovery process?
  4. Based on your evaluation, does my child have other psychiatric problems in addition to the substance abuse problem? If so, will these be addressed in the treatment process?
  5. How will our family be involved in our child’s substance abuse treatment — including the decision for discharge and the after-care?
  6. What will treatment cost? Are the costs covered by my insurance or health plan?
  7. How will my child continue education while in treatment?
  8. If this treatment is provided in a hospital or residential program, is it approved by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)? Is this substance abuse treatment program a separate unit accredited for youngsters of our child’s age?
  9. How will the issue of confidentiality be handled during and after treatment?
  10. How long will this phase of the treatment process continue? Will we reach our insurance limit before treatment in this phase is completed?
  11. When my child is discharged from this phase of treatment, how will it be decided what types of ongoing treatment will be necessary, how often, and for how long?
  12. As my child’s problem improves, does this program provide less intensive/step-down treatment services?

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