Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Contact number | 202-476-5980

The Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s National offers assessment, diagnosis, and care for children and teens with behavioral, emotional, and developmental disorders.

Every year, our specialists help thousands children and teens through day treatment programs, outpatient assistance, inpatient care, and our emergency psychiatric services.    

The Children’s National psychiatry team includes specialists nationally recognized for expertise in care of children with emotional and behavioral disorders. They also are educators and leaders in research, working to advance the understanding and treatment of complex disorders. We work closely with our colleagues in Psychology and Behavioral Health.

Each patient’s assessment is comprehensive and specific to the child or teen. To begin the process of emotional healing, our care team may use a variety of therapies in your child’s treatment plan:

  • Behavior modification
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Psychopharmacology

Our outpatient service evaluates approximately 1,000 patients annually, with more than 5,000 visits each year. The inpatient unit includes a 12-bed child unit and a 14-bed adolescent unit. Both units provide a safe setting, where our team provides crisis intervention and stabilization.

Programs and Clinics

Our psychiatry team partners with a number of programs at Children's National to provide comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care, including:

Emergency Psychiatric Evaluations

Be assured that at any time of day, our specialists are available by phone for consultation and for emergency psychiatric evaluations in the Emergency Department - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Our team of child and adolescent mental health clinicians, including social workers, psychology interns, and psychiatry residents and fellows care exclusively for children. Our specialists have the expertise to recognize psychiatric disorders in children and the experience to recommend the most appropriate next steps in care. 

We assess patients in crisis and determine whether a patient would benefit from inpatient (hospital based) psychiatric services or can be safely discharged and seen at a follow-up visit with outpatient services.

If a child or adolescent needs to be admitted, the staff facilitates the most appropriate admission for each unique patient. Please note that we do not provide medication evaluations in the Emergency Department.

Research at Children’s National

The Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine team is actively involved in research and training to discover effective treatment therapies, and improve patient care and health outcomes. The division has a robust fellowship and post-doctoral fellowship program, and is currently home to a host of clinical trials and research programs on specific pediatric psychiatric conditions.

To learn more about our current research and how to enroll your child in a clinical study, speak with your child’s doctor, nurse, or a member of the care team.

The Division of Psychiatry at Children's National conducts clinical trials involving children and adolescents ages 6-17 with different conditions. Through research and clinical trials, we are able to learn more about the factors involved in psychological and behavioral disorders, and to identify new treatment options and interventions for patients. 

For medical students, there are several options to do a research elective in psychiatry research through GCRC or AACAP’s medical student research fellowships that are paid summer electives. Visit the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry website for more information. Fellows may do research during their second year of training. 

Jalen's Story


Patient story

"It is our responsibility to give our children unconditional love and all of the tools for a chance at becoming successful at whatever path that they choose."

Jalen's Story

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Team

In This Section:


Children’s National provides a wide range of clinical services and specialties dedicated to improving children’s health.

Contact Information

For outpatient intake, call: 202-476-5980. For inpatient admissions, call: 202-476-4085.

Feeding Disorders Program

Our Feeding Disorders Program includes a multidisciplinary group of specialists who have been evaluating and successfully treating young children with a variety of different feeding problems for almost 30 years.

Inpatient Psychiatry

Inpatient psychiatry services for children and adolescents at Children's National is provided through the Division of Psychiatry. 


Children’s National sees children from around the Washington, DC, metropolitan region, nation, and world who need the kind of specialized expertise and child-focused care we offer.

Meet the Team

Our providers represent medical and surgical specialties, family practice, and general pediatrics.

Mental Health Trials

Through research and clinical trials, the Psychiatry team at Children's National learns more about the factors involved in psychological and behavioral disorders, and identifies new treatment options and interventions for patients. 

Related Care Services

Pediatric specialists at Children’s National work closely to ensure an integrated approach to caring for each child and family.