Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities

What are Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities?

Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs) are places for children and adolescents to go to receive long-term care. Young people are admitted to PRTFs to get mental health treatment.

Learn more about PRTFs

The problem with PRTFs

Many PRTFs fail to provide mental health treatment. They are not caring or trauma-informed places. Instead, staff maintain control through strict rules and routines. Kids and youth there may be abused or neglected. And they are separated from their families. This separation makes it harder to work through family issues. PRTFs are also expensive. They are not considered a best practice in treating mental health issues in youth. Yet, North Carolina has increased its reliance on PRTFs — at a rate of 119% since 2010.

DRNC monitors in PRTFs

DRNC monitors in PRTFs to protect the rights of young people. We investigate abuse and neglect allegations, and represent youth in legal matters. One of our target goals for 2020 is to reduce NC’s reliance on PRTFs to treat our children and youth.

Self-Help Tools

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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
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