Financial Help With Placement for Troubled Teens

Sometimes health insurance pays for placement for troubled teens.
Sometimes health insurance pays for placement for troubled teens. (Image: teens with laptop image by Alexey Klementiev from

The teenage years are challenging for most teens but some have more trouble navigating those years than others. Troubled teens may become depressed or withdrawn. They may hang out with a rough crowd or develop eating disorders, or may use alcohol or drugs. They may even become suicidal and get in trouble with the law. Troubled teens may benefit from residential treatment but residential treatment centers can be quite costly.


Medicaid is a health insurance program for people with low incomes. Not all people with low incomes qualify, but many teens do. Medicaid does cover inpatient mental health care, though in most states it does not cover long-term residential treatment. Troubled teens with Medicaid can be admitted to an acute care psychiatric unit for crisis stabilization and short-term treatment and Medicaid will usually cover the full cost. If your teen does not have Medicaid, you can apply at the welfare office in the county in which you live.

Children’s Health Insurance Program

The Children’s Health Insurance Program, commonly referred to as CHIP, provides health insurance to some children and teens that comes from families with low incomes that do not meet the criteria for Medicaid. CHIP covers some mental health benefits although the exact coverage varies from state to state. In some states, CHIP only pays for a limited number of inpatient days for mental health or substance abuse treatment. Still, it usually covers some placement for troubled teens. You can get more information about the Children’s Health Insurance Program in your state from the welfare office in the county in which you live.


Some residential treatment centers for troubled teens offer scholarships for people with low incomes. Not all residential treatment centers do however, and those that do usually have a limited number of scholarships per year. To find scholarships that can help your teen, simply contact treatment centers and ask if they have scholarships and if so, how to apply. If your teen sees a counselor, the counselor may know of some treatment centers that offer scholarships.

If You Can’t Find Help

Sometimes it’s just impossible to find financial help for placement for troubled teens. If you cannot find help for residential placement, investigate options for outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment is usually more affordable and some outpatient mental health clinics offer services on a sliding scale so they base the fees on your income. Outpatient clinics may provide treatment for substance abuse as well as mental health problems.

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