Child and adolescent psychiatrists have the education, training and experience to treat the highest levels of complexity and severity in children's mental illness.  A child and adolescent psychiatrist is a medical doctor - a physician - who is skilled in:

  • Normal childhood development and child and adult mental illness
  • Assessment, treatment and prevention of mental illness, including substance use disorders
  • Understanding and explaining the interface between mental illness and other medical conditions
  • Psychotherapy and other therapeutic modalities to facilitate positive outcomes in mental health
  • Recommending (or recommending against) the use of psychiatric medications in the treatment of childhood, adolescent and adult mental illness
  • Discerning developmental needs along important life domains including school, family, interpersonal relationships and community functioning

For more information, please visit the information pages of AACAP and APA on this subject.



A child and adolescent psychiatrist has successfully completed the following educational and training requirements:

  • Completed an undergraduate college degree or training - typically a 4-year college degree
  • Completed medical school training and earned a Doctorate of Medicine (MD) or Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) - both are 4-year degrees
  • Completed and passed 3 separate steps of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
  • Completed specialization in a General Psychiatry Residency program - typically a 4-year program
  • Completed subspecialization in a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship program - typically a 2-year program
  • Maintains an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the state where he/she provides care
  • Pursues ongoing learning and professional development through Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities

For more information, please visit the information pages of AACAP and APA on this subject.




Q: Where can I find a child and adolescent psychiatrist in my state or community?​

A: Click on the Members page.

Q: What can I do if there are no child and adolescent psychiatrists in my community?

         A: Contact your community Pediatrician, Family Practice physician or primary care provider.

Q: What can I do to advocate for a child and adolescent psychiatrist to be available in my community?

         A: Clearly communicate your expectations to your community hospital, local mental health agency, and state departmental and elected officials.

​Q: If my child sees a child and adolescent psychiatrist, will they end up on medications?​

         A: In many cases, child and adolescent psychiatrists recommend and advocate for treatments other than medications.  For more information on

              psychiatric medications, visit ParentsMedGuide.org.

Q: Will I be blamed for my child's problems?

         A: No, although you likely are the most important factor in his or her recovery. All parents can learn new skills to help their child.

Q: Where can I find more information to help my child?​

         A: Good resources for information on helping and advocating for your child include AACAPNAMIMental Health America and NIMH.

Q: What if I think my child needs help but do not want them labeled with a disorder?

         A: While the stigma of having a mental illness remains in the US, the impact of untreated mental illness typically is far worse.

Q: Who can help me advocate for my child or a child in my care?​

         A: Montana organizations include NAMI MontanaMental Health America of MontanaPLUKCASA of Montana and Disability Rights Montana.