FAQ: Application & Admission

How can I apply to treatment and what are the steps involved?

Requests for live-in admission are submitted to the Intake Coordinator via a 4-step process. The Intake Coordinator will: (1) receive the online application, consent forms and collateral documentation from the applicant or referral source; (2) schedule and complete a screening telephone interview with the youth applicant and; (3) make and communicate the admission decision with support from the Admissions Committee as required and (4) schedule the admission date when space becomes available.

The DSYTC Admissions Committee is composed of the Intake Coordinator, Executive Director and the Clinical Director. This committee is responsible for ensuring that all admission decisions are thorough, fair and consistent with the needs and best interests of the applicant. In making such decisions, the committee will also consider the overall clinical profile of clients currently engaged in the live-in program with the objective of remaining within available treatment capacity.

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 live-in 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 live-in treatment program 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 live-in waitlist, contact our Intake Coordinator Sue at 1-613-594-8333 ext. 2205 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 live-in 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 live-in 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 Sue at

1-613-594-8333 ext. 2205.

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.

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 live-in 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.