In the only inpatient mental health program for children ages five to 12 in Northern Virginia, Dominion Hospital staff members are specially trained to identify and treat children's psychiatric issues.

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Your best choice for children's mental health care

When your child needs help for emotional, behavioral or mental health issues, our children's program is your best choice for care close to home. We specialize in effective intervention to stabilize crisis situations, which may include self-injurious behaviors. Our multispecialty team approach leads to successful outcomes.

We work with families to help everyone understand the diagnosis and develop an individual plan tailored specifically to manage your children's care in the least restrictive environment possible. Program components include:


Psychoeducation provides information about causes and effects of the particular mental illness affecting your child. The goal is to expand the understanding of the condition, reduce feelings of helplessness and increase opportunities for better self-care.

Play therapy

  • Play therapy employs the therapeutic use of play, which can involve objects, patterns and interactions. This type of therapy helps children express feelings and experiences in a natural, healing process guided by the child.

Expressive therapy groups

  • Expressive therapy incorporates art, dance/movement, music, yoga and recreation therapies to help address key emotional, behavioral or mental health issues that may not be accessible through words.

Child psychopharmacology

  • Child psychopharmacology uses medication to assist in treatment. This component of our treatment is managed on a case by case basis and is only utilized when appropriate.

Multiple levels of care

Our highly structured inpatient and partial programs feature psychological and expressive therapy groups, family meetings and education services. Our programs offer a supportive peer group community that promotes personal growth and understanding.

Inpatient program

When round-the-clock monitoring is needed, our pediatric inpatient program offers 24-hour nursing care and full psychiatric services in a safe and structured environment. We also offer medical supervision by highly qualified mental health professionals, including physicians who are all fellowship-trained in child psychiatry. All of these services mean children receive appropriate individual assessment, intervention, education, supportive therapies and discharge planning.

Partial hospitalization program

Dominion Hospital's partial hospitalization program for children combines a highly structured environment at the hospital each day from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with the opportunity for your child to spend evenings at home. Our partial hospitalization program is suitable for children who need assessment to identify and treat issues beyond the scope of outpatient services. This program offers a productive mix of personalized treatment, supportive therapies and individual development.

Education services

Dominion Hospital understands the unique mental health needs of children. While our primary focus is on delivering mental health care, we also provide education services to support our inpatient and partial school-age patients during their admission.

Education services team: Dominion Hospital's education services team consults directly with appropriate school personnel to address school stressors related to admission and explore available school assistance where applicable. We provide case management for all school-age patients. The education services staff is responsible for supervising and providing support to patients in The Learning Lab. Additionally, they help communicate with schools and facilitate the patient's transition back to school.

The Learning Lab: All patients have access to Dominion Hospital's Learning Lab, except for the off-site outpatient programs. Our Learning Lab is equipped with a SMART Board, laptops and a printer for patient use. All school-age patients are encouraged to work on their schoolwork while they are in the hospital during the academic calendar year. During the summer, the education services staff implements a summer curriculum that includes leadership and team building activities, social skills development and other activities that promote and encourage creativity.

Benefits of our treatment

Our experienced clinicians excel in identifying symptoms, creating comprehensive treatment plans and providing effective clinical care. We match the level of care to the individual level of need. Mental health services for your child at Dominion Hospital include:

  • Physicians who work with you and your child to assess the need for medication and decide when your child is stable enough to move to the next level of care.
  • Nursing staff who monitor inpatient children for safety 24 hours a day, educating them and encouraging their progress. Our partial program children also work with the nursing staff and are monitored during their time with us.
  • Social work staff who meet with you and your family to identify issues and stressors and set up a plan to maintain safety and continue therapy after discharge.
  • Expressive therapists who introduce a variety of complementary therapy techniques to help your child find alternative forms of expression and communication.
  • Educators who teach and monitor children in our dedicated classrooms and, with parental permission, coordinate efforts with local student services to implement changes that may need to happen before your child returns to school.
  • Education services that provide a supportive learning environment while your child is focusing on their mental health treatment.

Learn more about school refusal as a potential symptom of deeper mental health issues in children.

Review a range of mental health topics and special information about children's health issues in our online Health Library.