How do I tell my child about their admission to Orchard Place?

We encourage families to be open with their child about their referral and potential admission to Orchard Place. We suggest you utilize their providers to begin the conversation and help the youth understand why residential treatment is recommended. Schedule a tour to visit campus and see the living units, school, etc.   Check out our website that has pictures of campus as well as our Family Handbook and Resident Handbook.

Many parents/guardians are fearful of telling their child about admission due to concerns the youth will run away, make suicidal or self-harm threats, become aggressive and so on. In these situations, we again recommend that you schedule an appointment with the youth’s provider(s) close to the admission date so they can assist you in telling your child.

If this is not possible, we require that you tell your child at least 24 hours in advance of their admission. This allows the youth time to help pack, say goodbye to family and friends and feel like they are a part of the process. If your child does run away, become aggressive or suicidal, call 911 or your local police. Another option is to pursue hospitalization for your child.

We have learned over the years that in most situations, though the child may be angry, upset, sad, confused when told about admission, they are able to manage the difficult emotions and move forward with placement.

We have also learned that if a child is NOT told before they arrive for admission, they may feel extreme anger, sadness, betrayal, and deceit by parents/guardians and by Orchard Place. This is a very difficult way to start a therapeutic alliance with the youth and is not the way we prefer to start treatment. In rare instances, we may recommend admission be postponed or cancelled.

Some parents/guardians arrange for relatives and adult support systems to be present when telling their child and/or to help with transportation on the day of admission. Some parents/guardians contact their local police department and explain that they will be telling their child about admission so that if needed, police are aware of the circumstances. Without a court order, police may not transport your child to Orchard Place but they can support you and your child and encourage them to cooperate.

Please reach out to admissions staff and discuss your concerns. We will assist you in the process and together we will come up with a plan to make the transition from home to treatment as comfortable as possible.


What can my child bring to Orchard Place?

At the time of your child’s admission to Orchard Place, we ask that you send seasonal clothing with them.  Laundry is done several times a week on each unit.  Please be sure that clothing is marked so it is not misplaced.  An easy way to do this is to put your child’s initials on the tags with permanent marker.  Below is a general clothing list indicating what a child typically needs. Space is limited so please do not send too many items.   Parents/Guardians are expected to provide clothing for their child while they are at Orchard Place.  The unit staff will work with you to make sure that you know of your child’s clothing needs during their stay.  However, if you cannot provide clothing, let us know. 

4 pairs of jeans/pants & shirts (cropped shirts, short shorts, spaghetti-strap tank tops or t-shirts with pictures of some rock groups and alcohol advertisements are not appropriate in our setting). 

1 pair of sweatpants & sweatshirt

2 pair of pajamas

2 pair of shoes (including 1 pair of tennis shoes)

6 pair of socks

6 pair of underwear and 3 bras (for females)

1 raincoat or umbrella

1 belt

You are welcome to bring pictures of family members and pets as well as appropriate posters.

* Toiletries are available on each unit but children may bring their own.  Anything marked “keep out of reach of children” or containing glass must be kept in a secure place on the unit. Aerosol cans are not allowed.

WINTER:  A coat, a hat, scarf or earmuffs, a pair of gloves or mittens, and a pair of boots. 

SPRING / SUMMER / FALL:  4 or 5 pair of shorts (bottom of shorts must be at or below fingertips,) a sweater and a jacket, 1 swimsuit (one piece for females).

Please bring minimal personal items due to the likeliness of sharing a room and having limited space.  You are welcome to bring your own pillow and bedding or we have bedding available.  A bulletin board is in each room.  If you put up pictures or other items, we ask that you not display your last name, address or phone number to help us protect your privacy in case of visitors to the unit.  You should not bring expensive, sharp items, glass or pottery items. Please do not bring makeup items that contain glass.   We do encourage you to bring a book and a few things that remind you of home.

Electronics: If you wish, you may bring a personal CD player or radio that runs on batteries. We will allow IPod shuffles.  We do not allow any device that has a screen or capabilities to store anything other than music.

We do not allow burned CD’s due to the difficulty in monitoring appropriate music. We allow Game Boy/Game Boy Advance and MP3 players but we do limit the amount of time played. We do not allow electronic devices that allow internet access. This includes Personal Play Stations (PSP’s,) IPods, Kindles, and Nooks. Electronic games allowed are those with an “E for Everyone” rating and do not have a parental advisory. We do not allow children to have cell phones on campus. Our decisions are based on research regarding the negative effects of inappropriate games and music on children, as well as protecting families against the loss of expensive items. We do have game systems, CD players and CD’s available on each unit for children to use.

Who can call/visit my child and when?

Please note: During COVID 19, on-campus and off-campus visits may look different based on CDC and state of Iowa recommendations. Below is our policy during “normal” times.

At the time of your child’s admission, you will complete a campus phone/visitor list. Parents/guardians are encouraged to call regularly, at least once or twice per week. Youth can place two calls per week to parents/guardians or relatives.

Immediate family and relatives can visit your child on campus. Non-family members can visit your child in the presence of parent/guardian. If an adult (with permission from parent/guardian) wishes to visit without parent/guardian present, they will be required to complete a background check before visiting. This could take several weeks.

We encourage visits with your child before or after family therapy sessions, on the weekends and during holidays. Visits will be discussed and recommended by your child’s treatment team. There may be instances, due to safety concerns with your child, when we do not recommend visits or off-campus passes.

Children have the right to contact DHS workers, juvenile court officers, attorneys and other referring workers involved in their placement.

Friends are not allowed to call or visit campus due to confidentiality.

Is family therapy required?

Orchard Place requires weekly family therapy sessions. If you live a distance from campus, we ask that you come to campus every other week for face-to-face sessions. The opposite weeks, family therapy can be held via Skype, Go To Meetings, etc.

If you live in Des Moines or surrounding communities, we ask that you commit to weekly face-to-face family therapy sessions.

We understand there will be exceptions due to weather, illness, etc.

How is my child’s treatment paid for?

1. Private insurance:  Private insurance is always primary and these benefits must be used before Medicaid. Please note that it is rare for insurance policies to have benefits which cover the entire stay. Some policies have no benefits and others are limited to 1-30 days. Any policies covering the child must be reported to us prior to admission and a copy of both sides of the card supplied. Any changes in coverage during treatment should be reported to your child’s therapist and copies of the new card submitted. This allows us to obtain any authorizations necessary. Failure to obtain authorizations could jeopardize payment by both private insurance and Medicaid.

2. Medicaid:  Clients may be eligible for Medicaid at the time of admission by virtue of a subsidized adoption, Supplemental Security Income (SSI,) Social Security, or due to parent’s income.  However, we apply for Medicaid for every child who is admitted. Please see below.

Children who have private insurance which will not cover the entire stay or who do not have Medicaid at admission can become Medicaid eligible the first of the following month. Medicaid may retroactive to the first of the month of admission depending on some circumstances. There may be costs to parents during the first month based on family income. 

During the month of admission, your financial responsibility is based on parental income. This is determined by the centralized PMIC processing department of DHS who will notify you of your expenses. Our full private pay rate is $425 per day; however, if Medicaid deems your child ineligible for the first month of treatment, we will reduce the rate you are required to pay for that month to $209 per day. During the first month, you may also be responsible to pay co-pays, co-insurance and deductible fees based on your private insurance policy benefits.  If you have concerns about payment, you may contact our office manager at 515-287-9631 to discuss options.

You must submit your two most recent pay stubs at the time of admission. Please plan accordingly to allow time for this.

If you receive income on your child’s behalf (child support, adoption subsidy, social security or supplemental security,) or your child has a trust fund, DHS will determine and notify you of the amount you will need to pay Orchard Place as part of your client participation costs.

The Admissions Office will contact the appropriate Medicaid authorization agency to obtain clinical authorization for your child’s admission. Please note that the Medicaid agency can deny admission if they do not agree that your child meets clinical criteria. If denied, Medicaid will not provide funding.  There is an appeal process for denials. Please note that this could delay your child’s admission.

The Admissions Office will also contact your private insurance company to obtain clinical authorization for funding on or prior to the day of admission. It is rare for private policies to have benefits that will cover the entire stay. If private insurance does not cover your child’s treatment, Medicaid is billed as secondary coverage.

If both private insurance and Medicaid deny authorization for admission, the cost of treatment would be your responsibility. The daily per diem rate is $425.00.

3. Private Pay: Parents/guardians pay privately for child’s treatment.