The School Refusal Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) provides short-term stabilization for those children having trouble attending school — most of these patients struggle with depression or anxiety that manifests itself in school refusal behavior. The use of scientifically proven treatments, intensive family therapy, and close partnership with the school, enable the Compass Health Center staff in Chicago to help facilitate a successful return to school.

Programs for Children (ages 9-12) and Adolescents (ages 12-18)

The Compass Health Center School Refusal PHP serves children from ages 9 to 12, as well as adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 who are experiencing school attendance difficulties. Every patient will participate in group and individual therapy, and both children and care-givers are also encouraged to participate in family therapy. The School Refusal PHP incorporates two hours of supervised school study each day under the supervision and guidance of an education specialist and teacher’s aides.

Treatment Goals

Our goal is to help patients return to the classroom by providing them with strategies and the confidence needed to effectively deal with anxiety, depression, stress, peer relationships, and the daily rigors of childhood and adolescence. Individualized treatment programs addressing psychiatric symptoms and therapeutic goals are developed for each patient by the multidisciplinary team.

Our goals include:

  • Returning the patient to their home school and typical daily routines
  • Designing individualized treatment plans that are appropriate for the patient’s diagnosis, developmental functioning, behavioral needs, family involvement, and community resources
  • Empowering the patient through individual, group, family, CBT, DBT, experiential therapies
  • Helping patients learn concrete coping skills — distress tolerance, emotional management skills, relaxation techniques, and effective communication skills

From the beginning of treatment, family involvement is imperative and an integral component of the program for the patient to succeed. Research has shown that individuals whose families are involved in their therapeutic treatments have a better outcome and a higher success rate of establishing and maintaining healthy lifestyles.

Release of Communication

Once a release of information for communication with the patient’s home school has been established, the assigned Education Specialist will communicate with the school to develop a plan to receive and submit various homework and school assignments. This release will provide the school with your child’s educational and therapeutic progress, including diagnosis and/or any treatment issues.

Supervised Study Time

Through the School Refusal PHP, patients will also have a supervised study time — for two hours every day — run by the Education Specialist and a teacher assistant on staff. Patients are expected to work quietly and independently during this time to maintain a productive work environment and can receive support from the supervising staff as needed.

School Transition & Treatment Release

When a student is ready to begin transitioning back to their home school, the Education Specialist from Compass Health Center in Chicago will contact the school to set up a re-entry staffing. This is a meeting that will take place at the patient’s school and will be at the school and parents’ discretion to determine which school faculty members should be present at the staffing. Whenever possible, the Education Specialist assigned to your child and a Compass Health Center therapist will participate in the meeting either by phone or in-person. When appropriate, the patient and parent(s) will attend the re-entry meeting at the school, and during the discussion, a plan will be developed to best support the student’s transition back to their school.

The following areas will also be considered in the re-entry meeting:

  • Progress made by the patient at Compass Health Center
  • Homework/assignment expectations
  • Schedule changes
  • Availability of supportive services
  • Safety plans

Discharge planning is an integral component of treatment — patient progress, as well as consultation with family and the treatment team will determine a date and plan for discharge from the School Refusal (PHP) for your child. Compass Health Center staff will also communicate with outside providers to ensure a smooth transition for the patient.

To learn more about School Refusal Partial Hospitalization Program, visit Wikipedia.org.

Staff & Facilities

Compass Health Center provides patients with superior intensive level psychiatric care in a supportive and safe environment. Our goal is to help patients overcome debilitating psychiatric symptoms through scientifically proven treatment modalities. We pride ourselves in offering exceptional treatment to the North Shore and surrounding Chicago area. Each patient is closely monitored by a full-time child and adolescent psychiatrist, licensed group therapist, licensed individual therapist as well as a full time nurse. The highly-skilled, collaborative team ensure that treatment plans evolve with the needs of the patient.

Our on-site staff for both Compass Health Center locations includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, family therapists, nurses and special-education teachers. From our outstanding clinical staff to the physical space layout-the whole person is appreciated in creating and providing successful psychiatric treatment.


If you would like to consider this specialized School Refusal Partial Hospitalization Program for your child, student, or someone you know, call Compass Health Center in Chicago at 224-306-1879 to schedule an appointment, or fill out the contact form so we can be in touch with you about your options for the School Refusal PHP.

Next, learn about Personalized Treatment Tracks.