FAQ: Application & Admission

What is the DSYTC program age range?

Youth program participants range in age from 13-21 years. Please note that our upper age limit of 21 is determined at the date of admission as opposed to application. Therefore, youth must be 21 at the time they commence residential treatment. Family members of all ages are also included in the treatment process as per best practices. Physical separation based on age will occur as much as possible within the residential sites so to ensure client safety and treatment appropriateness.

How long is the waitlist?

Unfortunately, given the high demand for our services, waitlists are a reality. Waitlist times vary throughout the year (from 2-12 weeks). If you are on our residential waitlist, contact our Intake Coordinator at 613-594-8333 ext. 2206 for the most up-to-date waitlist information.

What about detoxification/withdrawal management?

The need for formal detoxification services for adolescents and young adults is relatively low depending on the substance of choice. Unfortunately, for those who do have a need for such services, options are limited.

For older youth and young adults requiring supervised withdrawal management, they are invited to contact the Ottawa Withdrawal Management Centre at 613-241-1525.

Anyone experiencing severe discomfort as a result of withdrawal should consult their doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.

*There will be times where residential admission will be contingent on a formal period of withdrawal management

Who can refer?

Referrals to the DSYTC come from a variety of sources. Youth (13-21) with addiction problems who are interested in treatment can refer themselves. In addition, referrals on behalf of youth interested in residential treatment can come from caregivers, other relatives or concerned friends.

Other sources of referral include: private practitioners (e.g., psychologists, social workers), physicians, addiction or mental health assessment/treatment agencies, other community-based programs and hospitals.

*Given the DSYTC is a voluntary program, the youth must be interested in attending and engaging in treatment.

How do I apply?

We aim to reduce as many barriers as possible to the treatment application process. Those interested in applying should consult our website for a step-by-step guide to the application process (including access to our online application).

Should any questions arise, contact our Intake Coordinator at 613-594-8333 ext. 2206.

Is the program voluntary?

Yes. Clients are able to discharge themselves prematurely from our program should they choose; clients are not kept in treatment against their will.

However, all efforts are made by the clinical team to engage and retain youth within care so that they may receive the treatment they require and deserve.

Is your program 12-step based?

No. We hold a biopsychosocial view of addiction (i.e., substance misuse can be caused and maintained due to a variety of inter-related factors). Put another way, alcohol and drug addiction is a health condition which deserves to be treated with care, backed by evidence-based treatment in a safe environment that fosters consistent, positive outcomes.

Although our organization does not subscribe to some elements of 12-step philosophy and language (e.g., concept of powerlessness, referring to people as “addicts”), we do offer support and encouragement to those clients who wish to have new or continued exposure to this adjunct approach. Furthermore, as part of ACC programming (continuing care), clients are aided in finding healthy and safe support services, of which youth-friendly AA/NA groups are an important option.

Why are youth under 16 who live greater than 2 hours driving distance away from Ottawa often not eligible to apply to the DSYTC?

Due to the voluntary nature of our program, clients can prematurely discharge should they choose. As such, youth in this situation cannot usually be considered for admission due to the potential safety risks associated with the premature discharge of young youth who are not willing to wait for caregivers to pick them up and ensure a safe transition home.

There are situations, however, where alternative arrangements can be made so that this geographic distance criterion does not become a restriction to admission (e.g., it is agreed by all parties that a close family friend/relative within a 2 hour driving range will safely transport the youth in the event of an unplanned discharge).

What can a parent do if their youth is not interested in attending treatment?

This is a common challenge and one that usually requires fuller discussion to address. However, there are some initial strategies to consider. For example, consider introducing the youth to residential treatment options by inviting them to review our website or by providing our information package to read. Alternatively, if the youth isn’t currently engaged in outpatient services, discuss the possibility of them attending outpatient counselling, such as through their school or a community-based agency in the area.

While caregivers continue to support and encourage their youth to attend treatment (by expressing both love and concern), it is important for them to seek support for themselves, such as through individual counselling and/or a community support group.