Exploring Levels of Care


When seeking services, various levels of care are offered based on the needs of your child. Below is a list of common services arranged alphabetically.

Crisis Line

A telephone number that youth can call to get immediate emergency counseling by professional or trained volunteers.

Crisis Nursery

A 24-hour family support service that includes emergency daycare and overnight care for children from 0–12 years of age.

Crisis Shelter

A 24-hour support service that offers short-term emergency shelter and care for children. It provides for the physical and emotional needs of children within a safe residential environment.

Day Treatment

CTSS children’s services that are a site-based, structured mental health treatment program, consisting of psychotherapy and skills training services. Day treatment services are not part of inpatient or residential treatment services and are provided by a multidisciplinary team, under the clinical supervision of a mental health professional.

Drop-In Center

A place that helps at-risk and homeless youth. Services may include immediate access to emergency needs such as food, shelter, basic health care, and other support services.

In-Home Service

Designed for families where a child’s problems interfere significantly with school performance or success in the community. In-home services can provide skills training, help to lower stress, resolve family conflict, and reduce the chance of out-of-home placement. These can include:


Children’s Therapeutic Services and Supports (CTSS)

A flexible package of mental health services for children who require varying therapeutic and rehabilitative levels of intervention. Services are provided to restore the child to a level of functioning that they either had or would have achieved if normal development had not been impaired by a mental health disorder.

County Mental Health Case Management: Involves the coordination of a variety of community resources and services available in the county along with advocating for children suffering from ongoing mental health issues.


Respite Care

Temporary residential care for a child that provides short-term breaks and relief for the permanent caregivers in order to help reduce stress and restore energy. Inpatient Hospitalization—A unit designed to stabilize admitted children who have a mental illness. The patient receives a medical evaluation by a team of professionals, which includes on-site psychiatrists, nurses, and clinical social workers. Treatment may include group psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, activities therapy, and medication.


Medication Management

The monitoring of a medication that a child takes to confirm that the child is complying with the medication regimen. Monitoring ensures that the child is avoiding potentially dangerous drug interactions or complications.


Mental Health Behavioral Aide (MHBA)

A paraprofessional working under the clinical supervision of a mental health professional, employed by the same CTSS provider or another CTSS agency. An MHBA implements one-on-one services identified in a child’s ITP and individual behavior plan (IBP).


Mental Health Residential Treatment

A 24-hour program with services that are provided in a community setting, other than a hospital, under the clinical supervision of a mental health professional. Services are designed to work with the family throughout the placement and help the child to improve family living and social interaction skills, and to gain the necessary skills to return to the community.


Mobile Crisis Care

Provides youth with the services they need in order to remain safely in the community. Mobile crisis care services receive referrals from other community mental health agencies, family members, police, friends, or anyone else concerned about the welfare of a child who appears to be in a mental health crisis. Mobile crisis response teams provide support by telephone and are able to meet with children at school, home, or other places in the community.

Outpatient therapy

An intervention provided to people in need of mental health resources, but who do not require hospitalization or residential care.

Partial Hospitalization

A time-limited and structured program of multiple and intensive psychotherapy and other therapeutic services. Provided by a multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, nurses, and clinical social workers in an outpatient hospital facility to resolve or stabilize an acute episode of mental illness.

Personal Care Assistance Services

Provide assistance and support for children with disabilities, living independently in the community. PCA services are provided in the child’s home or in the community when normal life activities take them outside the home.

Personal Care Assistant (PCA)

An individual employed by a personal care assistance provider agency, enrolled by DHS, and who provides personal care assistance services.

Psychiatric Services

A psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse who is skilled in pharmacology for children provides services that include evaluations, treatment, and medication management of psychiatric disorders.

School-based Services

Educational options within the public school setting for at-risk and special needs students. These can include:



Face-to-face treatment of a child’s mental illness provided using the psychological, psychiatric, or interpersonal method most appropriate to the needs of the child. It is directed to accomplish measurable goals and objectives specified in the student’s Individual Treatment Plan (ITP).

Skills Groups: Skills groups are a form of behavior therapy used by therapists to assist children who have difficulties relating to other people; they can help with alleviating aggression.

Individualized Education Program (IEP): An IEP, also called an individualized education plan, is an educational plan that is required for students who are qualified to receive special education. Qualification is determined by school testing and may be based on intellectual, emotional, or physical disability. School staff and parents collaborate in developing the IEP, which is tailored to the student’s specific needs.

Screening – Questionnaires designed to assess for depression, anxiety, trauma, suicide risk and other mental health issues. Screenings allow for identification and diagnosis of mental health disorders.


Therapeutic Foster Care

Provides for the physical, emotional, and social needs of children in a supportive family setting until the natural family can be reunited, or a permanent placement through adoption can be arranged. The foster parents are trained and supported to implement the goals outlined in the child’s treatment plan.


Crisis Services

If you or others should be in a life threatening situation or need immediate help, call 911 or use your local emergency phone number.

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