Know Your Rights in Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs)

It’s important to know the rights of children in PRTFs so you can advocate for these rights when you or a child for whom you are responsible is in a PRTF. Learn about these important rights so you can feel confident advocating for them. Also, make sure your child knows their rights in the PRTF. With this information you and your child can recognize red flags.

Your rights in PRTFs at a glance – you have the right to:

  • Be treated with dignity and respect
  • Not be abused, neglected or exploited
  • Contact your parent or guardian at any reasonable time – not just on your scheduled “phone day”
  • Contact your advocate or attorney at any reasonable time
  • Make and receive private phone calls
  • Send and receive unopened mail
  • Be outside daily
  • Make visits and have people visit you
  • Participate in religious worship

DRNC Rights Poster

DRNC created a detailed two-page poster called “Protecting the Rights of Children and Teens in 24 Hour Facilities.” Take this poster to the facility to make sure it is displaced for kids and staff to see.

Call DRNC’s Abuse and Neglect Hotline at (919) 343-0417 if you have concerns about your rights at a PRTF, or if you or someone else has been hurt or injured at the PRTF.

Webinar on the civil rights of children in PRTFs

Check out this video that features DRNC attorney Joonu Coste speaking extensively about children’s rights in residential treatment facilities when she served as DRNC’s Equal Justice Works fellow, which was sponsored by an anonymous donor. In 2021, Coste presented this webinar to Breaking Code Silence. Breaking Code Silence is a social movement organized by survivors of institutional child abuse and activists to raise awareness of the problems in the Troubled Teen Industry, and the need for reform.

Please note:There were some technical difficulties at the beginning of the presentation (time stamp 4:49-8:43). Use this link if you wish to skip where the presentation resumes.

You can also learn more about the P&A system in this video Ms. Coste references.

Bring NC Kids Home

DRNC launched the Bring NC Kids Home in January 2021, to redouble efforts to end abuse in some PRTFs. Visit the campaign page to learn more and to sign up for news and alerts.