Child, Adolescent, & Family Services
Tri-County Community Mental Health Center offers a wide range of mental health services for children and their families to include assessments, individual therapy, family and group services, crisis management, case management, nursing and medication management. Below are some detailed descriptions concerning our most common child and family services.
- Child & Adolescent Assessments
- School Based Services
- Intensive Family Services
- Consultation, Education & Prevention Services
Initial assessment appointments can be arranged with the parent or guardian at the time of the request for services. At age 16 or upon legal emancipation, the assessment may only involve the youth seeking treatment, though parental involvement is strongly encouraged. The initial assessment addresses age-appropriate cognitive and physical development, as well as medical, educational, and family history, and includes assessment of any prenatal exposure to alcohol or other drugs. The assessment also addresses the clients’ abilities and strengths, their individual preferences, and any culturally sensitive needs as well. Treatment history, school history, language functioning, speech, hearing and visual functioning are all reviewed during the initial assessment.
The parent or guardian is an integral part of the assessment and treatment processes, and is the primary source of information about their child or adolescent. Treatment planning and ongoing assessments of the outcome of services must involve the parent or guardian and often the school teacher or other child serving agency.
A full exploration of the presenting problems/symptoms, considered together with the above assessment information, allows the clinician to form a diagnostic impression, consistent with the DSM-IV classification system. This information is presented to the Staff Psychiatrist and the interdisciplinary team. The diagnosis is confirmed or modified when the psychiatric medical assessment is provided.
If a child or adolescent has needs which are outside the scope of our agency, and the services are available from another agency or provider, this information is provided to the parent or guardian, and referrals are made as appropriate, i.e., drug or alcohol involvement, speech, hearing. Referral and coordination with other agencies is appropriate also when co-occurring disorders are apparent.
Reassessments for clients are provided by the Clinician and the Staff Psychiatrist on an as needed basis, at a minimum of each 6 months, whenever services are ongoing.
The child’s enrollment in school or daycare serves as documentation of the child’s immunization record. South Carolina State Law requires minimum immunization for Day Care attendance of children less than 6 years old who attend a licensed public or private day care center. Pursuant to Regulation 61-8 the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control requires vaccinations, screenings and immunizations necessary for a child to be admitted to any public, private or parochial school, grades K-12 or child development program under the State Department of Education.
These services are provided by having a mental health professional out-stationed at a school and providing necessary mental health services on site to students. Services delivered in this fashion are less stigmatizing than traditional services and offers the clinician direct access to the child’s learning environment. Partnerships between the child’s family and the mental health provider is often enhanced and shared vision, goals and decision making is facilitated between the child, parents, teachers and clinician.
This service is designed to provide the Centers highest level and array of intensive out patient services available to children, adolescents, and their families. Since this is a bundled type service, clinicians may employ a variety of treatment strategies and interventions in the most flexible manner to meet the changing needs of families in crisis. Families appropriate to receive this service will be those where the level of dysfunction and the severity of the child’s difficulties are such that out-of-home placement is imminent. These home and community based services are available twenty-four hours a day, seven day’s a week.
The basic goals of this service are:
- diffuse the current crisis, evaluate its nature and intervene to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence;
- ensure the linkage to needed community services and resources;
- ensure the clinical appropriateness of services provided to the child;
- develop and/or improve the ability of parents to care for their children.
This service is delivered primarily in the individual’s home with a family focus. The services provided are based upon the identified needs of the child and have an ecological holistic perspective. Basic to Intensive In-Home Services is the fact that they are multi-faceted and include crisis management, individual and family counseling, skills training, coordination and linkage with other necessary services, resources, and supports to prevent the utilization of more restrictive residential services. Because of the intense nature of this service, duration of this level of care is short and should be discontinued after the family system is stable. After this service is discontinued other services such as traditional clinic based services or other services may be employed to assist in ongoing management of symptoms thru behavioral intervention strategies for the youth and caregiver services to nurture the parents and assure ongoing stabilization post Intensive In-Home Intervention services.
Coordination with the child/adolescent’s community school is ongoing through contacts with the Special Services Coordinator, the School Psychologist, Principal, Guidance Counselor, or Teachers. These contacts are made through telephone communications, use of relevant behavior scales and checklists, interagency staffing, classroom observations, and exchange of written information as needed.
Coordination with other agency service providers is routinely provided as well. Signed consent by the parent/guardian is secured for any release or exchange of information about a child or adolescent who is a client.
As an outpatient mental health provider, our services do not disrupt our clients’ day to day educational program in the community school. If a client is referred by our agency for inpatient care to meet special individual needs, we assist with coordination regarding educational goals, and upon discharge we assist, as needed, with the reintegration back into the home/community school.
The Child and Adolescent Services Program are involved in peer education and public awareness activities in a variety of settings throughout the three-county community. We present information about our services and about other topics of concern pertaining to children and adolescents to groups of parents, teachers, students, and other community organizations. In addition to oral presentations, we provide brochures, pamphlets, and other handouts to increase awareness and knowledge regarding child and adolescent mental health issues. We provide contractual consultation and training to our local Headstart Programs.
In building our local system of care, we work closely with other child serving agencies to assure an interagency integration of services based on client-centered and family empowered orientation. When agencies working jointly together determine that a child would benefit from a therapeutic out of home placement, then our staff provide assistance, coordination and case management to assure ongoing continuity of care and active planning to return the child home or to the least restrictive living arrangement. We participate in each of our three counties as a member of the Interagency System of Care for Emotionally Disturbed Children (ISCEDC). This group’s purpose is to plan appropriate care for all children taken into custody of S.C. Department of Social Services (DSS), who are in need of therapeutic placement rather than routine foster care. The protocol includes a mental health screening for each child taken into DSS custody, with recommendations regarding the child’s need for follow-up mental health treatment.
The Child, Adolescent and their Families Program adhere to all policies and procedures of Tri-County Community Mental Health Center and the S. C. Department of Mental Health. Under no circumstances does treatment include any form of corporal punishment, humiliation, frightening or exploitative actions by agency staff directed toward clients or their families.
Child, Adolescent, & Family Outpatient Services
- Individual Therapy
- Family Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Wellness Groups
- Family Support
- Behavior Modification
- Nursing Services
- Crisis Intervention
- Psychiatric Medical Assessment
- Psychosocial Rehabilitative Services
- Clinical Care Coordination
Tri-County Mental Health Center serves children or adolescents who have intellectual disabilities, pervasive developmental disorders, or substance abuse as long as they have an accompanying psychiatric treatment issue. It is not the purpose of the center to provide services in child custody situations where there is no accompanying psychiatric treatment issue, or to be involved in investigatory abuse or neglect services for children or adolescents.