Children's Program Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the Betty Ford Center Children's Program in Colorado, Texas and Rancho Mirage, California.

What do children do in the program?

The Children's Program features a balanced blend of learning, playing and growing. Children learn about addiction in an age-appropriate way, share feelings, develop a variety of coping and self-care skills and build upon their strengths and intrinsic worth. Just as importantly, the program provides the opportunity for children to be kids, as recreational and other fun activities are included in the program.

Why is it important for children who have an addicted parent to participate?

Helping children to learn that it's not their fault and they are not to blame allows them to become kids again. Research clearly shows that addiction tends to run in families so children from alcoholic and other drug addicted families are at high risk. Empowering these youngsters with healthy living skills is truly prevention in its purest form.

How does the program help a family deepen its healing?

Through their artwork, stories and letters to Addiction, the children share with their parents what it's been like for them living with addiction. This is a very powerful and moving experience. Parents respond the next day by often asking for forgiveness and letting their children know how much they love them. On the last day they work on how the family will proceed with its recovery from addiction.

What can I say to patients/parents to encourage their participation?

Since children can unwittingly become a part of the disease of addiction in their family, they deserve to be a part of the recovery as well. For patients/parents who grew up in addicted families, they can now give their children the gift they never got as kids and a safe place to grow, learn and heal. This program is a gift that patient's/parent's sobriety brings to their children, providing an opportunity to heal and alter the cycle of addiction in the family.

What days do the parents/caregivers participate?

On Thursday morning it's important for one parent, patient or adult family member to participate in an orientation meeting from 8-9 a.m. Adults participate all day with their children on Saturday and Sunday. The program usually finishes by 3 p.m. on these days.

What happens at the conclusion of the program?

Staff meet with each family for continuing care recommendations and referrals at the close of the program. During the last day of the four-day program each family outlines the steps they plan to take for both the individual and collective health of the family.

How often does the Children's Program take place?

The program occurs once or twice a month for children and their families.

How old must children be to participate in the program?

The program serves children ages seven through twelve.

How much does the program cost?

If a family has the resources, the fee is $400 per child, which includes lunches and parent participation. Full and partial scholarships are available. No child will ever be turned away due to an inability to pay. The actual cost per child to run the program is much higher. The difference in cost is made up through donations.

Is sobriety a prerequisite for program participation?

Adults must be sober for a minimum of 30 days or be currently in addiction treatment program. All participants will remain free of mood altering chemicals for the program's duration.

How do I register a child for the program?

What should my child bring to the program?

  • Children should dress casually and comfortably, as they will be doing hands-on activities all day
  • Lunch and snacks are provided each day of the program
  • Children should bring a bathing suit and towel

If you have any additional questions or concerns, our staff can meet with a patient or family member individually.

Program Dates

Parents do not have to be patients in order for their children to participate in the Children's Program.



We help 7 to 12-year-old children from families hurt by addiction.

Registration Info