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Office of Mental Health

Services for Children and Families


Family support programs provide services to assist and empower families with children and adolescents having serious emotional disturbances. The goal is to reduce family stress and enhance each family's ability to care for their child.

Services include but are not limited to:

  • education and information
  • individual advocacy
  • family support groups
  • respite
  • family recreation events


Clinic Treatment Programs

Clinics offer traditional outpatient mental health services such as:

  • assessment
  • individual, family, and group therapies
  • medication management.

Treatment is offered at a variety of sites including schools and community offices.

Day Treatment Programs

Day treatment services provide intensive, non-residential services. Children and adolescents receiving day treatment services live at home or in the community. The programs offer a blend of mental health and special education services provided in an integrated program.

Day treatment programs include:

  • special education in small classes with an emphasis on personalized instruction
  • individual and group counseling
  • family services such as family counseling, crisis intervention, interpersonal skill development
  • behavior modification

Crisis Residences

Crisis residences serve children and adolescents exhibiting acute distress who may need stabilization in an alternate setting. The expected length of stay is up to 21 days.

The major goal of the program is to stabilize the situation and return the child to the home, rather than to provide long-term care. There is an emphasis on maintaining relationships the child has with their family and in the community.

Home Based Crisis Intervention (HBCI)

HBCI provides intensive in-home crisis services to families (natural, foster, or adoptive) where a child is at imminent risk of psychiatric hospitalization. The target population for the HBCI program is youth 5 to 17 years of age.

Linked to emergency rooms, these interventions last for 4 to 6 weeks. A counselor is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day to work with the child and family.

Goals include:

  • admission diversion
  • teaching problem solving skills to the family
  • linking the child and family with community-based resources and supports.

Community Residences

Community residences provide a community-based, residential option for some seriously emotionally disturbed children and youth. They are appropriate for young people between the ages of 5 and 18 years.

Principles of the community residence program model:

  • Serving seriously emotionally disturbed children and youth in the least restrictive environment as possible
  • Support families in their efforts to continue and/or resume primary care for their child
  • Treatment occurs in a therapeutic setting that includes caring, consistent adult relationships.

Inpatient services

These are hospital-based programs that offer a full range of treatment and support services.

Programs exist in general hospitals (Article 28), freestanding psychiatric hospitals (Article 31) and State Children's Psychiatric Centers.



Single Point of Access

Each local government in New York State must designate a Single Point of Access for Children and Families (SPOA). The purpose of the SPOA is to:

  • Identify children with the highest risk for placement.
  • Develop strategies to manage these children in their home communities.
  • Develop better decisions about individualized care planning for children at risk.
  • Support communities to manage access to intensive services.

Telemental Health Services

Telemental Health plays a valuable role when on-site services are delayed or not available. Telemental Health has many benefits including:

  • Child psychiatry services in your community
  • Collaboration between psychiatric caregivers.
  • Collaboration and communication between families, local providers and child psychiatry consultants.
  • Less cost to families in form of reduced travel, childcare expenses and missed school or workdays.
  • Rural areas can have equal access to quality care.