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Community Mental Health Supports and Services

holding hands In addition to clinical treatment, children and their families may need a number of other supports. Community supports and services are programs that provide a range of mental health services, such as support services and coordination of care, in the family’s community.

.You can also call The Mental Health Association of New York City’s 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week mental health crisis hotline (1-800-LIFENET).

Call 1-800-LIFENET
Lifenet is a free, confidential help line for New York City residents. You can call 24 hours per day/7 days a week. The staff of trained mental health professionals help callers find mental health and substance abuse services.
► 1-877-AYUDESE (1-877-298-3373) in Espanõl
► 1-877-990-8585 for Korean and Chinese callers (Mandarin & Cantonese )
► 1-212-982-5284 (TTY for hearing impaired)

Family Resource Centers (FRCs)
The FRCs provide peer support services to families of children/youth (0-24 years old) who have been identified as having emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges, or are at risk for developing a disorder due to biological, psychological, or social factors. They also provide peer support services to children and youth themselves.

FRCs are staffed with Family Advocates who have experience with getting mental health services for their own children. Family advocates are specially trained and aware of concerns family members have in raising children with emotional and/or behavioral challenges.

They provide peer-to-peer support and advocacy. They may go with parents to appointments with their schools or other agencies serving their children, such as the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) or the Human Resources Administration (HRA).

They help parents ask the right questions and ensure that parents know their rights. FRCs help families access appropriate services for their children.

FRCs also employ Youth Advocates who work directly with children and adolescents with emotional and/or behavioral challenges, either individually or in a group.

There is at least one Family Resource Center in each borough.

Services include:
  • peer-to-peer support
  • advocacy to assist in the navigation through systems
  • information based on the families’ and youths’ needs in order for families to make informed decisions and be full partners in determining services for their children
  • referrals to appropriate services and resources available within the community
  • skill development through educational workshops
  • recreational activities
  • assistance in coordinating services
  • respite care
  • a phone line (warmline) answered by a family advocate for families to call with questions/concerns during the program's operating hours.
Who can get services?
  • Parents/caregivers of children and youth (birth – 24) with emotional and behavioral challenges
  • Children and youth with emotional and behavioral challenges
  • Children do not need to have a diagnosis or to be receiving mental health services in order for the family to get services at the FRC
How to access:
  • Family members can contact the Family Resource Centers directly in their borough to schedule an appointment.
  • List of Family Resource Centers with contact information.
For more information, contact LIFENET

Early Childhood Mental Health
Early childhood mental health programs focus on children from birth through age 5 and their families. Early childhood mental health is the social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of young children. It includes the child’s ability to experience, control and express their emotions, form close and secure relationships, and explore the environment and learn. The goals of these programs are to promote positive mental health, prevent mental health problems in children and families and provide services and supports for children and families affected by mental health disorders.

Services include:
  • Screening
  • Assessments
  • Case coordination
  • Psychoeducation
  • Classroom observations
  • Referrals for psychiatric evaluation
  • Referrals to community resources
  • Consultation to teachers and other early childhood professionals
Who can get services?
  • Children from birth to age 5 and their families.
How to access:
  • Family members can contact the program directly for more information.
  • For a list of Early Childhood Mental Health programs, click here.
For more information, contact LIFENET

Case Management
Case management is a community-based program that coordinates the supports and services that children with serious emotional disturbance need. The goal of these services is to reduce placement in out-of-home settings, such as hospitals and residential treatment facilities, so that children can continue to live in their community. A specially trained case manager may visit with children in their natural settings, such as their home and school, at least 2 to 4 times a month. Case management services are grouped into intensive case management and supportive case management services.

Intensive case management assesses and coordinates the supports and services necessary to help children remain in the community with their families. These programs are called “intensive” because each case manager works with a small number of children, and is available to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The case manager visits with the child at least 4 times a month. Services are based on the needs of the child and made available for as long as necessary.

Supportive case management provides ongoing support to children at a lower level of intensity than the intensive case management program. The case manager visits with the child at least twice a month. This program is available to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Blended case management is a program model that uses a team approach to case management services to blend the intensive and supportive aspects of case management, depending on the child’s needs. Children can move from one level of service to another (intensive and supportive) without severing ties with a familiar case manager.

Services include:
  • Individualized care coordination
  • Supportive services
Who can get services?
  • Case Management programs continue until age 24 to provide assistance to adolescents as they transition to adulthood.
  • Children with a serious emotional disturbance.
  • The child may also be at risk for being hospitalized, re-hospitalized, or requiring residential placement.
How to access: Most referrals are made by a psychiatric hospital, a residential program, or a community mental health provider directly to CSPOA.

Families can call CSPOA for a referral.

For more information and/or a referral, contact CSPOA: 1-888-CSPOA-58 (1-888-277-6258)

Home and Community Based Services Waiver
The Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver serves children with serious emotional disturbances. Often these children have multiple mental health problems and healthcare needs, causing them to be at high risk for out-of-home placements. The Waiver services are tailored to meet the needs of that particular child and their family. Two major goals of the waiver program include to serve children in their natural settings, such as their home and school, and to decrease placements in institutional settings, such as the hospital and residential treatment facilities.

Services may include:
  • Individualized care coordination
  • Crisis services
  • Intensive in-home services
  • Skill building
  • Family support
  • Respite care
Who can get services?
  • Children between the ages of 5-18 years
  • Children with a serious emotional disturbance that interferes with daily functioning in the community. The child may also be at risk for being hospitalized, re-hospitalized, or residential placement.
How to access:
Most referrals are made by schools, community-based organizations, outpatient clinics, inpatient psychiatric hospital units, residential treatment programs, home based crisis intervention, emergency rooms, day treatment programs, preventive service programs, foster care agencies, juvenile justice, etc. directly to CSPOA.

Also, families can contact CSPOA directly for a referral.

For more information, contact CSPOA:
1-888-CSPOA-58 (1-888-277-6258)

Adolescent Skills Centers
These are supportive vocational and educational programs for adolescents (ages 15-21) with emotional and behavioral challenges. They provide educational services (basic skills instruction, pre-GED and GED preparation), vocational training, coaching, and placement. They also teach “life skills” such as budgeting and socialization. These programs help adolescents and young adults successfully transition into adult community living and the world of work.

For the Adolescent Skills Centers numbers, contact LIFENET.

Last Updated: December 4, 2012