Act 53 Information

Have a Child Age 12 and up to 17 with an Alcohol or Drug Problem?

Wonder where to turn?

We can help, by providing…

Information on community and family resources, support groups, school services, etc. And….If your child refuses treatment, there is another option. The legal system can require your child to enter drug and alcohol treatment. To get the process started, call the Bucks County Drug & Alcohol Commission, Inc. (BCDAC) at 215-773-9643 and mention Act 53.

What is Act 53?

ACT 53 is a law in the state of Pennsylvania. Act 53 allows a parent/legal guardian to get a drug and alcohol assessment for their child, and if warranted, compel the child to enter treatment.


  • The parent/legal guardian believes that their child has a drug or alcohol problem;
  • The child is unwilling to participate in a treatment program;
  • The child must be a resident of Bucks County; and
  • The child must be between the ages of 12 and up to 17

If the above criteria are met, BCDAC, Inc. will guide the parent/legal guardian through the Act 53 process.


The ACT 53 hearing and assessment process can be completed within a week. The first step is for parents to call BCDAC’s Approval of Care Dept. 215-773-9643, for guidance and resources. Information on how to access Act 53 will be provided, along with direction on how to complete applications and the two court hearings to be conducted. A confidential drug and alcohol assessment will be conducted by credentialed staff from Aldie Counseling Center, or Penn Foundation. The assessment will occur at the Bucks County Justice Center. If the child is found in need of treatment, a court order will be written and arrangements will be made for the child’s treatment to begin as soon as possible. Parents/legal guardians are responsible for court related fees, including $58 Sherriff fee and $24.50 filing fee. Funding for legal representation for the child will be through BCDAC, Inc. Treatment costs are through parent/guardian private insurance, Medical Assistance or County funding. Guidance on funding process will be provided to parent/legal guardian.

Questions? Contact:

Bucks County Drug & Alcohol Commission, Inc. 215-773-9643, M-F 8:30-4:30


Bucks County Children’s Crisis Support 1-877-HELP (1-877-435-7709), After Hours

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