Mental Health Services – A glossary to get you started

Most often the services described below are bundled under an agency who is considered your child’s clinical home. (This may not be the case in all states.) To find these agencies google key words like “Outpatient Services”, “Residential Treatment” and “Behavioral Health Services”. You can also get a recommendation from your local Behavioral Health Hospital.

    • Family TherapyUsually bi-weekly or weekly sessions with you and your child. May also include siblings.
    • Individual TherapyUsually weekly sessions for your child.
    • In homeIn home treatments often include a therapist or a team of workers coming into your home to work with you and your child. This can be up to 20 hours per week.
    • Day TreatmentIf your child cannot function in a school or daycare setting they may go to a day treatment program that includes academics, therapy and learning coping skills. (If you have Medicaid it may cover transportation.)
    • Foster careThere are different levels of foster care. In my area there are three levels and each is increasingly structured. Many children with mental health issues end up in a therapeutic foster home rather than a regular home. It is important to note, if you voluntarily place your child in foster care you do retain full custody and parental rights.
    • Group Homes—Many people fear group homes, but I have had good experiences with two of them. These homes have qualified staff and may have anywhere from 4-10 children in the home. This is a more structured environment than a foster home, but your child will be exposed to other kids with serious issues.
    • PRTF—This stands for Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility. This is a 24/7 residential placement for the child where they will participate in group, individual therapy, therapeutic activities, academic time, etc. Some PRTF’s are locked facilities which is necessary for children who are extremely violent or may run away.

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