Admission Criteria

Residential admission criteria include:

  1. Youth is 13-21 years of age at time of inpatient admission;
  2. Diagnosis or symptoms consistent with mild to moderate substance use disorder;
  3. Inability to control substance use at lower treatment intensity settings;
  4. Significant functional impairment as a result of substance use;
  5. Use within the past 30 days;
  6. Willingness to actively work towards healthy lifestyle goals.

Exclusionary criteria include:

  1. Actively homicidal/suicidal (at time of application/admission).
  2. Significant intellectual challenges that preclude meaningful participation.
  3. Severe and uncontrolled mental health issues (e.g. psychosis).
  4. Significant violence and/or incarceration history (especially in 18+ age group).


  • 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 live-in treatment.
  • For safety reasons, youth under 16 years of age who reside greater than a 2-hour drive from Ottawa cannot usually be considered for admission. This is 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 safety and transportation 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 2 hour driving range will safely transport the youth in the event of an unplanned discharge, etc.).
  • Effective August 2021, the DSYTC adopted a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. This vaccination requirement (i.e., proof of full vaccination) maximizes and prioritizes the safety and well-being of staff and clients and applies to anyone wishing to access any DSYTC facility (excluding those with documented medical exemptions). All applicants must demonstrate full vaccination status or a documented medical exemption.