Wondering where to turn to help an adolescent age 12-18 who has an alcohol or drug problem in Bucks County? Pennsylvania Act 53 is a law that allows a parent/legal guardian to get a drug and alcohol assessment for their child and, if warranted, compel the child to enter treatment.
The Bucks County Drug & Alcohol Commission, Inc. (BCDAC) can provide assistance through information on community and family resources, support groups, school services and more. If a child refuses treatment, there is another option. The legal system can require a child to enter drug and alcohol treatment. To initiate the process, residents can call the BCDAC at 215-773-9643 on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and mention “Act 53.” After hours, residents can call the Bucks County Children’s Crisis Support line at 1-877-435-HELP (1-877-435-7709).
CRITERIA FOR ACT 53 ASSISTANCE
- The parent/legal guardian believes their child has a drug or alcohol problem;
- The child is unwilling to participate in a treatment program;
- The child must be a resident of Bucks County; and
- The child must be between the ages of 12 and 18
NOTE: If the above criteria are met, the BCDAC, Inc. will guide the parent/legal guardian through the Act 53 process.
The Act 53 hearing and assessment process can be completed within a week. Information on how to access Act 53 will be provided by BCDAC, Inc. staff, along with direction on how to complete applications and the two court hearings to be conducted. A confidential drug and alcohol assessment will be conducted by credentialed staff from Aldie Counseling Center or Penn Foundation. The assessment will occur at the Bucks County Justice Center. If the child is found in need of treatment, a court order will be written and arrangements will be made for the child’s treatment to begin as soon as possible. Parents/legal guardians are responsible for court related fees, including a $58 Sheriff fee and a $24.50 filing fee. Funding for legal representation for the child will be through BCDAC, Inc. Treatment costs are through parent/guardian private insurance, Medical Assistance or County funding through the BCDAC treatment services program. The BCDAC, Inc. will provide guidance on the funding process to the parent/legal guardian.