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The Intensive Services Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado

Contact Info

Contact the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s Hospital Colorado at 720-777-6200.  In the event of an emergency or life threatening situation, dial 911. 



Intensive Services
720-777-6200


About the Intensive Services Program

The Intensive Services Program offers both inpatient and day treatment services for children and adolescents. Admission is based on a psychiatric evaluation, which can be accessed at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Children aged 3 to 12 years who require psychiatric hospitalization are treated on the Child Psychiatric Unit (CPU); adolescents aged 13 to 18 are treated on the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit (APU). Children who do not require 24 hour care, but still need intensive evaluation and treatment, can be treated as day treatment patients, 5 to 7 days a week, by the same treatment team.

Each child and family is assigned to a treatment team that consists of a child psychiatrist, advanced practice nurse, child psychologist, social worker and trainees. Additional staff includes psychiatric nurses, mental health counselors, and creative arts therapists. Treatment teams meets daily to consult on each patient. Family participation is a required component of the program. Significant focus is on identifying and working with services in the community, including school and mental health services that can provide ongoing support and treatment for clients after discharge. Classroom teachers are on-site to provide daily, individualized instruction to encourage patients to help maintain learning skills.

The unit’s mission is to facilitate crisis resolution and stabilization. Children and adolescents receive a thorough psychiatric evaluation and psychological testing related to the presenting problems may be completed. Therapeutic approaches are integrative, including developmental, psychopharmacologic, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic and solution-focused techniques.

Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado for the treatment of this condition?

The Intensive Services Program provides a supportive, structured program, including individual and family therapy, group therapy, behavioral approaches, medication management and creative arts therapy. Our psychiatric practices are based on best evidence and evaluated against research on a regular basis.

Our multidisciplinary teams provide diagnostic assessment services and treatment to acutely distressed children and adolescents who have emotional, behavioral, or combined medical/psychiatric problems, and who benefit from inpatient stabilization assessment, day treatment services and disposition recommendations.

Specific conditions treated

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depression
  • Sibling adjustment problems
  • ADHD
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Reactive attachment disorders
  • Disruptive disorders

Symptoms that prompt a referral to the Intensive Services Program include:

  • Affective distress (depression, anxiety, mania)
  • Thought disorders
  • Behavioral difficulties (out-of-control anger)
  • Relationship problems
  • Attachment issues
  • Self harm (high risk behaviors)
  • Suicidal tendencies

Services offered

Services emphasize acute stabilization of psychiatric and behavioral crisis. We offer a multidisciplinary approach to care that is family-based.

Admission to the Intensive Services Program is accessed through Children’s Colorado’s Emergency Department or referrals from other hospitals and providers. After the evaluation, the Emergency department will inform the family and patient of their recommendation. Insurance authorization will also be obtained, if possible, prior to admission.

Lengths of stay vary from 3 to 10 days for inpatient treatment, and 1 week to 1 month for day treatment programs, based on individual patient needs and treatment plans.