Children's Acute Care Program

The Children’s Acute Care Treatment Program at Laurel Ridge Treatment Center is specifically designed for children ages four to 12. These children are in an immediate crisis situation, causing them to be a danger to themselves or others. They usually have a mental status that requires a higher level of therapeutic structure, coordinated services and medical supervision.

Laurel Ridge provides an intensive multidisciplinary treatment program in a nurturing, safe, secure and mutually respectful environment.

Treatment is designed for children with:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Major depressive disorders
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Phobic disorders
  • Psychosis disorders
  • Separation disorders
  • Trauma-related issues

Treatment Overview

Our acute care program meets the needs of children who are diagnosed with psychiatric or behavioral disorders that hinder their ability to function successfully. The intensive program is designed to stabilize the immediate crisis while providing each child skills to minimize the risk of future incidents. The therapeutic learning environment meets the psychological, social and physical needs of the child and offers education and support to the family or caregivers. Discharge planning and aftercare management is provided to ease and encourage the transition back into the home, school and community settings.

Therapies used:

The treatment program uses interdisciplinary, evidence-based and age appropriate therapeutic approaches. The Children’s Acute Treatment Program at Laurel Ridge provides:

  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Skill-building group therapy
  • Recreational therapy (including music therapy)
  • Milieu activities designed to reinforce skill-building group objectives

Activities and discussions during sessions focus on the following themes:

  • Anger and aggression management
  • Behavior management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Mood management
  • Personal accountability
  • Problem-solving
  • Social skills
  • Trust and respect


Children remain enrolled in their home school while they are at Laurel Ridge and may complete homework assignments if brought in by the school or family. Every attempt is made to help patients transition back to their normal academic schedule upon discharge.

Family Involvement

The program offers family therapy to prevent future crises. Children and their parents or caregivers work together to learn effective communication and how to translate skills to the home, school and community settings. Positive reinforcement and strength based approaches help parents or caregivers continue effective methods of behavioral and emotional support at home.

Discharge Planning and Aftercare

The treatment team works to create an aftercare plan for each child and coordinate the plan with the referring community professional. Aftercare components may include:

  • Home behavioral management
  • Multi-family community support groups
  • Day treatment services
  • Outpatient individual therapy
  • Family therapy

Campus Tours

Laurel Ridge welcomes the opportunity to meet the staff and see the campus and programs. If you would like to visit Laurel Ridge, the staff can schedule a time that is convenient for you. While walk-ins are welcome, you may experience a delay due to staff availability.

For More Information

If you have any questions about the Children’s Acute Treatment Program, call (210) 491-9400 or (800) 624-7975.