Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act (PChAD)

The Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act (PChAD) took effect in Alberta on July 1, 2006, & was amended on July 1, 2012.

PEP was instrumental in getting this legislation as a resource for parents and continues to advocate for parents for improvements to this program.

WHAT is it?

Court Ordered Stabalization (non-medical detoxification) for children under 18 years of age who are at risk of harming themselves (physically or psychologically) or others as a result of substance abuse (drugs or alcohol). The result is confinement in a protective safe house. Here your child will have an opportunity to engage, build a relationship with an Addictions Counselor and receive an Addictions Assessment with recomendations for other services within Alberta Health Services Addiction & Mental Health’s Continuum of Services.

It should be noted any other services are voluntary.

WHEN is it used?

PChAD is a resource for when voluntary services are no longer an option.

HOW LONG is it?

Currently the duration is 10 days. This may be extended to 15 days if warranted. (It was initially only 5 days).

Your CHILD has legal rights & can APPEAL the Order…

If your child is confined in the protective safe house under a PChAD order, he/she will be advised:

  • that he/she has the right to contact Legal Aid or a lawyer;
  • why he/she has been confined;
  • how long his/her confinement will last;
  • that he/she has the right to ask the Court for a review of the Confinement Order and will be given a Request For Review form

Suggestion: if you are considering, the court may ask for documentation so advise keeping a journal on your child’s use and abuse..

How to Apply…

Step 1: Make an Appointment for a Pre-Application Information Session with the AHS contact:

Edmonton & surrounding area:
Donita Armstrong 780.422.7383
PChAD Outpatient Addictions Counselor

Otherwise contact your local AHS Outpatient Addictions Counselor.
Keep in mind, many of the rural offices may be more booked up/have longer wait times and traveling to Edmonton to see Donita may speed up the process. Explore your options.

Step 2: Attend the Pre-Application Information Session. 

Alberta Health Services Addiction & Mental Health
Youth Addictions Services
12325-140 Street, Edmonton, AB

or your local AHS Addiction & Mental Health Office or call 1-866-332-2322

Step 3: Take the Confirmation of Attendance letter received at the Pre-Application Information Session to any Court House in Alberta.

Step 4: Complete an Application for a Protection of Children Abusing Drugs form and file it with the Court Clerk. You will need to decide if you are applying for a:

Confinement Order
(if the parent/guardian believes they will be able to safely transport the youth to the Protective Safe House & their whereabouts are known), OR

Apprehension & Confinement Order
(if the parent/guardian believes they will NOT be able to safely transport the youth to the Protective Safe House OR their whereabouts are unknown)

After applying for the court order call 1-888-332-2322 to inform AHS you are going before the judge. This allows AHS to update their records for a potential new client.

Step 5: Appear before the Family Court and present the evidence in regards to the child’s use of alcohol and/or other substances to the Judge. After hearing the evidence, the Judge will make a decision about the PChAD Application.


  1. At PEP meetings you will receive support, up to date information regarding the navigation of the system, current trends in the community, and experienced parents will share their stories of accessing services via the system.
  2. Calling the Parent Support Line 780.293.0737 will provide you with one-on-one support and direction.
  3. The Parent Mentorship Program can offer additional support while you go through this process, including the option of having an experienced Parent Mentor accompany you to court for the application.