Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Day Treatment Services (PA-DTX) 5: Interdisciplinary Program

Participants regularly attend an interdisciplinary program of treatment, education, and activity that fosters active participation and incorporates available social supports to the greatest extent possible given availability of appropriate resources.
2020 Edition




Individuals who receive Day Treatment Services improve psychosocial, educational, vocational, and cognitive functioning, and learn to manage their symptoms.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Program curriculum or sample daily program schedule
  • Procedures for communication/collaboration between day and residential programs 
  • Procedures for obtaining clearance for persons served to participate in athletic activities 
  • Proof of accreditation, licensure, or certification for outside providers operating adventure-based activities, if applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records
  • Observe program

PA-DTX 5.01

The day treatment program:
  1. aids in the transition from in-patient to out-patient care;
  2. addresses needs not met by less intensive programming;
  3. offers an alternative to more restrictive care; and
  4. works with individuals and other providers to ensure continuity of care.

PA-DTX 5.02

Participants are engaged in therapeutic activities designed to:
  1. develop and maintain a normalizing routine; 
  2. enhance personal and interpersonal skills and behaviors; and 
  3. address identified problem areas.

PA-DTX 5.03

The program offers the following services and adapts the structure and content of these services based on the program model and the needs of the service population:
  1. individual and group treatment;
  2. family therapy;
  3. educational programming;
  4. psychoeducational groups;
  5. medication evaluation and monitoring;
  6. expressive therapies;
  7. recreational activities;
  8. pre-vocational training;
  9. independent living skills training; and
  10. other planned, structured activities.

PA-DTX 5.04

When planning day treatment activities, the agency takes into account group characteristics and the individual’s:
  1. age and developmental level;
  2. emotional stability;
  3. personality;
  4. skills; and
  5. gender.

PA-DTX 5.05

Participants are helped to develop and expand their informal support networks including connections with friends, extended family, and community members.

PA-DTX 5.06

Therapeutic programming provides scheduled sessions for a minimum of:
  1. nine hours per week in intensive outpatient programs; or
  2. sixteen to twenty hours per week in partial hospitalization programs.


Outpatient day treatment programs may operate for fewer than nine hours per week when the frequency and intensity of services is appropriate to individual needs and a rationale is provided in individual service plans.

PA-DTX 5.07

The organization helps individuals establish and strengthen links to needed support services including:
  1. supported housing;
  2. supported employment;
  3. medical care;
  4. substance use treatment;
  5. public benefits;
  6. child care;
  7. educational services;
  8. respite care; and
  9. peer support.

PA-DTX 5.08

A program that serves a mix of individuals who live in residential care and in the community ensures that:
  1. residents and non-residents receive a comprehensive program that is tailored to individual needs;
  2. mechanisms for communication between day and residential programs are in place; and
  3. responsibilities of residential and day programs are clearly delineated.
NA The agency does not serve a mixed population of residents and non-residents.

Fundamental Practice

PA-DTX 5.09

The agency evaluates service recipients for their ability to participate in athletic activities and obtains, as necessary:
  1. written, signed permission slips from service recipients’ legal guardians;
  2. a medical records release;
  3. a signed document from a qualified medical professional stating that the service recipient is physically capable of participating; or
  4. an adult waiver and release of liability.
NA The agency does not offer athletic activities to service recipients.

Fundamental Practice

PA-DTX 5.10

Agencies that purchase services from providers that operate adventure-based activities with a significant degree of risk request proof of accreditation, licensure, or certification with a nationally recognized authority for the activity being conducted.
NA The agency does not purchase services from providers that operate adventure-based activities.
Examples: Adventure-based activities with a significant degree of risk can include white water rafting, climbing walls, or ropes courses.