Children’s Mental Health Residential Treatment Center Project

The Residential Treatment Center (RTC) Project provides a child with serious mental health needs access to intensive treatment in a residential setting.

What is the Purpose of the RTC Project?

The RTC Project supports families with a child at risk of entering Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) conservatorship due to their mental health care needs and after exhausting community mental health resources. The RTC Project:

  • Connects families to mental health services available in their community through their local mental health authority (LMHA) or local behavioral health authority (LBHA).
  • Pays for the cost of room and board at an RTC to meet a child's mental health needs.

What Are the Benefits of the RTC Project?

The RTC Project:

  • Allows a family to retain custody of their child during the child’s enrollment in the RTC Project.
  • Helps a child learn how to manage symptoms of a serious emotional disturbance.
  • Helps the family learn skills for healthier relationships.
  • Provides a safe place for the child to learn how to positively express emotions and live with others.

Who is Eligible for the RTC Project?

A child is eligible if all the following are met:

  • The child is a resident of Texas.
  • The child is younger than 18 years old.
  • The child has a qualifying serious emotional disturbance.
  • The child is clinically eligible to be in an RTC.
  • The child is not in DFPS managing conservatorship.
  • The family is at risk of relinquishing conservatorship because there are no community resources available and because of the seriousness of their child’s mental health needs.

What Services Do Families Receive?

At the RTC, children take part in regular services including:

  • Weekly individual and group therapy
  • Weekly family therapy
  • Medication management, as needed
  • Ongoing medical care on a routine and as-needed basis
  • Educational services
  • Social, recreational, and habilitative services

Through the RTC Project, families participate in:

  • Weekly family therapy with their child
  • Regular treatment team meetings for their child
  • Routine case management through the LMHA or LBHA
  • Skills training
  • Family partner services

Who Pays for Services?

HHSC pays for room and board at the RTC. Other medical and mental health services — such as therapy, dental care and routine or emergency care — are billed to the child’s insurance. For children who are not insured, contact the LMHA or LBHA for information about how the child might still access services.

How Long Does the Program Last?

The average length of time in the RTC Project is six months. However, each child’s individual needs will determine the duration of stay.

How Do I Access the RTC Project?

Families interested in getting help through the RTC Project can call their LMHA or LBHA to ask for a referral to the RTC Project. The LMHA or LBHA will send the referral directly to HHSC. Find your LMHA or LBHA here.

HHSC asks our contracted RTC providers to review each child's application to determine if they can meet that child’s needs. The LMHA or LBHA will notify families once a child is accepted for admission.

The RTC Project does not guarantee a child will get RTC services. If a child is not placed in an RTC through the RTC Project, the LMHA or LBHA will notify families of additional community mental health services. A DFPS case worker may also discuss alternative options the family may be eligible for.