What a Children’s System Should Include

 It should have a Full Array of Core Cross-Agency Services and Supports


Prevention & Early Identification

  • Public awareness and outreach services
  • Regular mental health and substance abuse screening in wellness visits and schools (as we do for hearing & vision)
  • First-line medical provider training and school staff training in how to screen for mental illness and substance use disorder and how to make appropriate referrals for families to obtain services and supports.
  • Mandate age appropriate mental health and substance abuse information in health curriculum K-12.


Assessment & Evaluation

  • Timely appointments for assessment and evaluation
  • Getting a diagnosis immediately triggers appropriate level of care coordination service to both the family and school to facilitate timely initial treatment and appropriate community supports.
  • An appropriate level of severity in the diagnoses triggers ongoing case management and care and community support coordination. (This would include coordinating with the school to best support both the child’s health and education.)


Mental Health Treatment within Community

  • Age appropriate individual, group, and family therapies
    • e.g., Psychotherapy, Behavioral Health Intervention Supports (BHIS), Social Skills Groups, Occupational Therapy, Play therapy, Music and Art therapy, etc.
  • Peer and Caregiver education and supports
  • Medication prescription and management
  • Integrated mental health and substance use disorder treatment, including Intensive Outpatient Treatment
  • Assertive Community Treatment for Youth
  • Day Programs and / or non-residential therapeutic school settings


Crisis Intervention and Stabilization for children (0-18)

  • Crisis line
  • Crisis screening and assessment
  • First Responder Crisis Intervention Training
  • Crisis Intervention Mobile Units
  • Access centers


Hospitalization and Residential Care

  • Therapeutic Group Homes
  • Residential Therapeutic Schools
  • PMIC (Psychiatric Medical Institution for Children)
  • Acute Inpatient


Community, Educational and Vocational Supports

  • Support for caregiver education on diagnosis and best parenting strategies given the child’s particular mental health conditions.
  • Support for siblings (e.g., family therapy, support groups, etc.), to prevent and treat trauma.
  • Access to trauma-informed trained childcare that is willing and able to serve children with mental illness.
  • Respite for caregivers. (This is extremely important so parents can give needed attention to other children in the home and maintain their own physical and emotional health.)
  • Support for teacher education on diagnosis and best teaching strategies given the child’s particular mental health conditions.
  • Trauma-informed school policies and practices, including restorative justice practices and local collaboration between the child’s mental health providers, educators, and (when necessary) juvenile justice, to ensure academic, discipline, and disability accommodation practices are evidence-based and most effective to ensure the best mental health and academic results for the individual child.
  • Therapeutic classrooms and therapeutic schools for severe conditions & complex needs. These can also serve as a step-down to help students reintegrate into community school after in-patient or residential care, or as a temporary service to prevent the need for hospitalization or residential care. These classrooms and schools shall be overseen by a clinical and educational collaboration to ensure both the child’s health and academic needs are being met.
  • Skill-building recreation that includes opportunities for social skills development, physical exercise, and personal development within the community.
  • Juvenile Justice Diversion and Reentry services
  • A full array of school mental health: from school-based prevention and universal interventions (e.g., Positive Behavioral Supports) to Intensive Intervention in collaboration with clinical community.
  • Vocational training and rehabilitation.
  • Life-skills training.
  • Necessary home modifications (e.g., alarm system to indicate young child has eloped during the night)
  • Wrap Around Services