This section refers to withdrawal care provided within a residential setting. Even so, the principles and some of the practices outlined below also apply when supporting a young person to withdraw in other settings, such as home-based or out-patient programs.

  • Youth specific residential withdrawal services aim to:
  • Stabilise the mental and physical health of clients and increase their access to ongoing care
  • Break the escalating cycle of AOD dependence and high risk behaviour 
  • Strengthen pro-social connections to support longer term behaviour change

Withdrawal from substances is integral to achieving these aims with young people.

Engaging and Settling-in (Intake)
Properly orienting a new resident to a withdrawal program starts with ensuring that they feel comfortable in what is likely to be an unfamiliar environment. It is natural for a young person to feel nervous, particularly if they are entering the program for the first time.

Young people are most likely to feel secure and engaged when they:

  • Are properly introduced to other residents and staff
  • Understand the program and daily schedule (including which staff are on roster, medication & medical appointments, activities scheduled).
  • Understand their rights and what is required of them
  • Feel connected to support people outside the program

Many programs provide young people with this information in plain language written material. Information about the program and young people’s rights and responsibilities are often displayed in a prominent position.

Most services assign a key worker for each young person participating in the program. Whilst it is crucial the young person engages with their key worker, engagement with entire staff team is just as important. This means that a young person always has some one to speak with in times of need. This can also include ‘peer mentors’ where they are part of a program.

The intake process should be a continuation of assessment and any other pre-admission processes. The young person and those involved in their care should feel confident that the information they have shared with the service has been valued, understood and incorporated into their care plan.It is often the case that young people’s goals change as they progress through the program.