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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do YRTCs provide treatment for mental health disorders?

A: The YRTCs were developed to provide treatment for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth who are characterized as alcohol and substance abusers. The YRTCs also provide treatment for youth who are diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, meaning the individual has one or more substance abuse disorders and one or more psychiatric/mental health disorders at the same time. In other words, for youth to be admitted into one of the centers, they need to be evaluated as having either a substance abuse disorder or co-occurring disorder and be identified as clinically appropriate for the center.

If you are looking for centers that provide solely mental health treatment for youth, please visit the IHS and SAMHSA facility locators:

IHS Find Healthcare
SAMHSA Health Locator Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 

Q. Why are there only 13 YRTC Treatment Centers?

A: The original statute specified that Tribes in each IHS Area would agree upon a structure and location for each YRTC. The Tribes were to formulate a Tribal Action Plan addressing their needs and plans with regard to alcohol and substance abuse. At the time, it was reported that the Bemidji Area and Billings Area Tribal Leaders made the decision to forego developing an Area YRTC.

For more specific information relating to the Bemidji and Billings Area, please contact the respective Area Behavioral Health Consultants.
The IHS California Area Office plans to develop an additional YRTC in Northern California to address California's unmet need for AI/AN youth residential treatment services.

Q. Are the YRTCs always full?

A: The 13 YRTCs have different admissions processes; some YRTCs have an open continuous enrollment which means clinically appropriate youth can be admitted if a bed is available. Others have a cohort model, which means that treatment is offered to a group of individuals that begin and remain together until they graduate from the program. The number of beds available in each YRTC is always changing, it is best to contact the YRTC near you to see what their availability is.

Q. I have a youth who is not clinically appropriate for the YRTCs and they are in need of more serious care, where can I find treatment services?

A: Please visit the following facility locators:

IHS Find Healthcare
SAMHSA Health LocatorExit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 

Q. Why is the YRTC length of stay on average 90-120 days? Shouldn't youth be in treatment for years?

A: There are many levels of care that are available for substance abuse treatment including: detox, residential treatment, outpatient substance abuse, transitional living, day treatment, etc. In fact substance abuse treatment is considered to be a "continuum" indicating that care is ongoing. At a YRTC, youth will live onsite and receive support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Youth participate in individual and group therapy. This level of care is suitable for people who need a high level of support and structure for a period of time. While receiving treatment at the YRTC, the youth will receive skills and tools to assist them in maintaining their sobriety once they leave treatment. Ideally after completing treatment at the YRTC, the youth will be able to receive ongoing outpatient treatment services and recovery support in their community so they can maintain their daily work or school schedule.

Q. How much does it cost for a youth to receive treatment from a YRTC?

A: YRTC treatment services are available to eligible AI/AN youth and families at no cost. Please contact the YRTC you are interested in for additional information on the admissions requirements.

Q. How do I refer a youth to one of the YRTCs?

A: In order to refer youth to a YRTC, please contact the YRTC to learn more about their admissions process.