Current emphasis on reducing length of hospital stay has stimulated a review of the philosophical, clinical, and administrative approaches to brief psychiatric hospitalization of children. A model of time-limited hospitalization on an eight-bed children's unit was designed to stabilize the patients and triage them back to appropriate levels of community aftercare within 28 days. Clinical and administrative strategies used to facilitate this process included a community-based case managerm for each patient, focused clinical intervention, and strong parent involvement. The treatment model was generally successful in meeting the goals of hospitalization. Of 212 admissions over three years, 37 percent of the patients at discharge continued to need complex, multimodal treatments, and 63 percent were referred for less intensive outpatient care.