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Meeting Locations


Sherwood Park

Strathcona Community Centre (rooms past library (401 Festival Ave) 

2001 Sherwood Drive, Sherwood Park



Sunrise Community Church

2nd floor - (no handi-cap access) 

3303-37 Street, Edmonton




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.


Currently Alberta Health Services Addiction & Mental Health (AHS) oversees 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. Alberta Health Services Addiction & Mental Health (AHS) have a spectrum of services available to youth for support and recovery from substance abuse. When attempts to have your child access voluntary services have been exhausted and your child is abusing substances in a way that negatively impacts their life (family relationships, school, activities, physical & psychological health, etc), PChAD may be the next step.


WHY is it used?

Individuals under 18 years of age are legally classified as children based on the status of the development of their brain and their underdeveloped ability to make appropriate choices for their well-being. Drug and Alcohol use further impairs judgement. PChAD gives parents in conjunction with the Court and AHS the power to protect their children. The goal of PChAD is to force the child to detox for a period of time in the hopes they will gain some clarity and be more motivated to make positive choices.


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; and
  • that if a Request For Review is filed with the Court, it will be reviewed within two days.


What is the PRE-APPLICATION INFORMATION SESSION? Under Section 2 of the PChAD Amendment Act (July 1, 2012) "the parent or guardian of the child must attend an information session with an Outpatient Counsellor in respect to the services available in Alberta for the assessment and treatment of children who abuse drugs."


The Outpatient Counsellor will provide information about:

  • the process of applying for a Protection Order;
  • The legislation (rules) related to the Protection Order (ie; confidentiality, review process, early release);
  • The steps to take once a Protection Order is granted;
  • What to expect if your child is confined at the Protective Safe House;
  • What is expected of parent(s) whose children are confined at the Protective Safe House; 


The Outpatient Counsellor will also be gathering relevant information from the parent(s) or guardian about the child and may request the youth's medical records.


The Outpatient Counsellor will provide the parent or legal guardian with a Confirmation of Attendance letter, which is required by the Court when making an application for a PChAD Protection Order.


Since the PChAD Amendment Act (July 1, 2012), the Courts are turning away Protection Order applicants who do not have the Confirmation of Attendance letter and are re-directing them to their local AHS Outpatient Counsellor for the pre-application Information Session. 




  • A PChAD Order expires 50 days from the day it was granted if it is not utilized (unless otherwise noted).
  • There is NO expiry date on the Confirmation of Attendance letter received at the Pre-Application Information Session.



How to Apply...


1. Make an Appointment

for a

Pre-Application Informaiton 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.


2. Attend

the Pre-Application Information Session.


Alberta Health Services Addiction & Mental Health

Youth Addictions Services

12325-140 Street, Edmonton, AB


your local AHS Addiction & Mental Health Office


3. Take the

Confirmation of Attendance letter

received at the Pre-Application Information Session

to any Court House in Alberta.


4. Complete


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)




-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




5. Appear

before the Family Court


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. 


4. PEP can also support you in developing a plan for your child's release from PChAD - a plan that takes your needs as a parent, your family, and your household into consideration.






Here are a number of links for PChad:





See Chapter 6: