The Children & Youth program provides clinical services to families with one or more seriously emotionally disturbed child or adolescent. The clinician will meet with the clients in their natural setting – home, school, or community, to develop and coordinate the implementation of a service plan that addresses the needs of the child or adolescent in the areas of mental health care, physical health care, family, education, leisure and environment. The purpose of this intensive, 24 hour per day, seven day per week service is to insure that the needs of this population group are served in the least restrictive setting. To this end, particular emphasis will be on reducing the number of inpatient admissions experienced by these clients. If the child or adolescent does indeed require hospitalization, efforts will be made to facilitate the earliest possible discharge.
Child & Youth Client
The Child & Youth program was designed to serve the chronically mentally ill population. The concept of chronicity, however, is a difficult one to apply to the children and youth population. Chronic or long-term emotional problems are best viewed as severe disturbance in growth requiring extra help in habilitation. The “severely emotionally disturbed” better describes this population since it conveys both the seriousness of the condition and the high degree of service that the children and youth require. The degree of disability then becomes the parameter by which seriousness or severity is defined.
The Integrated Children’s Intervention Service
Families are often overwhelmed by and lost in a system of services that may or may not be appropriate for their children.
The Integrated Children’s Intervention Service offers families an opportunity for assessment of their child’s mental health needs by participating in an interview process that utilizes the Child & Adolescent Needs & Strengths (CANS) assessment tool. The CANS provides an opportunity to review and discuss not only the needs of the identified child, but helps to explore strengths of the family, and supports available to them within their community and throughout Mecklenburg County.
Following the interview process, the family and the referring probation officer will be provided with written recommendations and referrals. The ICIS case manager helps families to explore and identify the most appropriate resources, supports, and services for the child and the family. When appropriate, The ICIS case manager assists families with accessing and navigating the mental health system as an alternative to court.
Appointments are scheduled to accommodate family needs, which means that the ICIS case manager’s schedule is flexible, and allows for interviews to be conducted at times that are convenient for families. The interview process takes approximately an hour to an hour and a half and varies with each family’s individual circumstances. Duration of the ICIS case manager’s involvement is dependent upon each family’s individual need, but is usually short term, with services ending within two to three weeks of first contact.