In this article, we’ll explain how to get funding available for residential treatment for children and youth in need of services outside the home environment. If you know your child needs care but you need help to pay for it, we will explain the options available.
How Much Does Residential Treatment Cost?
The cost of residential care varies widely depending on the type of services offered, but according to Pasedena Villa,
Prices for residential treatment range from $10,000-$60,000 per month (or about $320-1,930 per day) for full service programs.-Pasedena Villa
Very few people can afford to pay for residential care on their own or “out of pocket”.
Residential care is very expensive and sadly there are times that children do not receive the help they need, not because the care isn’t available, but because there isn’t a way to pay for it.
This situation is not hopeless, though. Financial assistance for mental health treatment is available and we explore different options below.
Funding Available for Residential Treatment for Children and Youth
Here are ways that residential treatment is paid for.
Medicaid is the primary way many children receive residential treatment. A child may qualify for Medicaid if the parents’ income is below a certain threshold, if they child is in foster care or as part of an adoption subsidy package for a child who was in foster care.
If a family currently receives private insurance (such as through a parent’s employer), there are situations when the family can request Medicaid enrollment to cover costs not paid for with insurance. These are called “medically needy” or “spend down” plans. Some states also offer waivers for those who might not otherwise receive services.
Managing the Medicaid system can be tricky, so inquire about an advocate available who can help you get access to needed care for your child. These advocates are provided and paid for by the Medicaid system.
Insurance companies (such as Blue Cross, Aetna, Cinga, and many others) typically cover a portion of the cost of residential treatment. This may mean that families are required to pay a deductible and then a percentage of the cost of care thereafter.
Insurance may cover only a portion of the care, such as medical and mental health care only. Insurance may also have a cap or total dollar amount they will cover.
If insurance determines to only pay for part of the needed care, parents have the option to appeal the decision. It may be wise to hire an attorney to help with appeals in these situations.
If a youth has committed a crime, placement will be made by a judge and the burden of cost will fall to the court system.
Although rare, it is possible for a school district to pay for an out-of-district placement if parents can prove this is the least restrictive option and no in-district option is suitable to meet the needs of the child.
Typically, a school district pays only for the educational portion of a child’s placement in treatment.
Foster Care System
For children who are currently in foster care, the foster care system (and Medicaid) will pay for residential treatment.
If a child is not in foster care, there are times when he or she may be placed in foster care (either voluntarily, by the court system, or by the Department of Human Services) in order to fund treatment.
Please be aware that if your child is your biological child or adopted and is placed in foster care in order to fund treatment, you may be court-ordered to pay for part of your child’s treatment. This varies by state but can be up to 19% of the total amount of the child’s care.
If your child is adopted from foster care, this payment cannot legally be more than his or her adoption subsidy. If you adopted a high-needs child who now needs residential treatment, please click here for additional helpful information.
If your child was adopted from foster care, you might receive an adoption subsidy. Part of these subsidy funds can be used to pay for a child’s care. If the funds are insufficent to pay for needed services (as they often are), you can request that the funds be re-examined. Some states also have additional funding for higher-level services for special needs children who are adopted from foster care.
Parents can pay out of pocket for a child’s treatment. Many facilities offer a sliding scale or payment plan for these situations. Loans for treatment are also available.
Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)
When parents no longer wish to maintain a relationship with the child (most often this is the case with an adoption situation), they have the option to relinquish parental rights. Depending on the state, relinquishment is not easy to obtain. Often another adoptive family needs to be arranged before a judge will grant relinquishment.
In the case of a child with severe mental health or behavioral issues, a judge may grant relinquishment in order for the child to receive needed services.
If you feel that TPR is in the best interests of your family and your child, seek the help of an attorney who specializes in adoption issues.
Grants for Metal Health Services
While there are some grants available for mental health services, such as these SAMHSA grants and NIMH funding grants, typically these grants are for organizations who provide mental health care to the community, not individuals.
The American Counseling Association lists information about federal grants for counseling.
Here is a link with information about substance abuse treatment grants.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Paying for Child & Youth Residential Treatment
Here are answers to commonly asked questions about finding funds for residential treatment for children.
While finding funding for residential treatment for children and youth can be an overwhelming process, we encourage you not to give up. Help is available from a variety of sources in order to provide your child with the needed mental health care.