Children/Youth with Emotional Disorders

Many Challenges. One Call

Professionals will work with you to decide which services and providers are most appropriate for your needs. This includes determining your eligibility, since many programs have their own eligibility criteria. Click on the "Many challenges. One Call" brochure for more information.  

Programs, Services, and Resources

Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority provides a full array of specialty services for children, youth, and families.  Below is a brief listing of services and supports that are available to individuals who qualify. 

Crisis Services:  Mental health crisis intervention services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are designed to ensure consumer well-being and dignity, community safety and access to inpatient care for persons in crisis because of mental illness or emotional disturbance. 24-hour Crisis Intervention Services can be reached calling (989) 792-9732 or (800) 233-0022.

Mobile Response and Stabilization Services (MRSS):  Originally named the Mobile Urgent Treatment Team, Mobile Response and Stabilization Services was created to help youth experiencing a mental health crisis. MRSS provides mobile crisis response to all Saginaw County residents, and support by phone to callers outside of the county. MRSS is comprised of a team of mental health professionals with experience working with a variety of populations (children and families, persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities, co-occurring mental health and substance use concerns, and more). If you live within Saginaw County, a team of two can assist virtually or in-person at your home or other safe location in the community. We encourage you to call (989) 272-0275 when you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health. The team is currently available daily from 8am-10pm, including holidays.

Access Stabilization for Children (ASC): ASC is available for any youth age 0-21 who is found eligible for services upon completion of an intake in the Centralized Access and Intake Department.  Children and youth that are referred to this program are at imminent risk for inpatient hospitalization, foster care placement, a disruption in their current foster care placement or may become involved with Juvenile Justice.  The ASC team typically makes contact with the family within 24 hours of their intake to schedule the first appointment.  The initial objectives of this program are to assist the family in creating a safety plan and a behavior support plan that correlates with their identified needs.  The ASC therapist provides brief interventions that are solution focused and skill building according to the family’s needs and preferences.  During this assessment period, the therapist may also assist the family with advocacy and outreach needs, linking and coordinating to community resources, arranging for psychiatric services and provide psychoeducation to families regarding diagnosis, treatment recommendations and how the recommended treatment will look for the family once they move out of the ASC Program. 

Participation in the program typically lasts anywhere from a few weeks up to sixty-five days.   Consumers can be seen frequently during this period, which increases engagement into the treatment process.  Once the stabilization needs are met, the youth is transferred to the recommended treatment team for ongoing services. 

Infant Mental Health (IMH) & Early Childhood Services:  The Infant & Early Childhood program is designed to support pregnant women and families who have children ages 0-47 months.    

These services focus on the infant/young child within the context of the caregiver-child relationship. Central to an infant and early childhood perspective is the belief that all children benefit from a sustained primary relationship that is nurturing, supportive and protective.

The emphasis of these services is on the attachment relationship between the child and caregiver to support emerging developmental milestones of the child.  Interventions are designed to strengthen the skills of both the parent and young child, thus improving the relationship between them.

These services help parents and caregivers:

  • develop new skills and discipline strategies
  • gain understanding of their child’s needs and how the child communicates those needs
  • build a secure attachment relationship with their child.

The benefit to the infant and young child is the promotion of healthy physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development which leads to improved overall functioning and behavior.

The Infant Mental Health & Early Childhood program provides services to families with a variety of different needs—these may include:

  • Infants/young children:
    • who appear sad, fussy, tired, or unhappy
    • with emotional or behavioral challenges
    • who have experienced trauma
  • Parents:
    • experiencing depression, stress, anxiety, or other mental health concerns
    • who have experienced abuse or neglect as a child
  • Families:
  • experiencing difficulties in connecting/bonding between caregiver and child
  • involved with Child Protective Services or Infants/young children who are, or have been, placed in a foster home

Infant and early childhood specialists are master’s level clinicians who have expertise in infant and early child development, attachment relationships and parenting skill training.   

Services are flexible and individualized according to the reason(s) for referral, the identified needs of each child and/or caregiver, and the concerns expressed by caregivers about their children and themselves. 

Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Services:  SCCMHA and its partner organizations provide autism treatment services for children that have received a diagnosis of Autism by a qualified provider. Children who are determined eligible for Autism Treatment Services will be assigned an Autism Support Coordinator who will assist with linking, coordinating, and monitoring treatment services typically known as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).  ABA treatment is a very intense and individualized treatment approach that has been identified as the most effective treatment for children and youth diagnosed with Autism. 

  • What should you do if you think your child may be showing signs of Autism? If you think your child may be displaying signs and symptoms of Autism you should speak with your primary care physician first, to share your concerns. You may find it helpful to review developmental milestones information and complete a developmental screener (see links below)

Children’s Case Management Services:  Children’s Case Management Services are for children ages birth through 17 years (and their families) who have a serious emotional disturbance.  Case Management helps people gain access to needed community services and resources in the areas of basic needs, education, health care, financial, social and/or recreational. The service helps individuals and families coordinate resources when they are involved with multiple agencies and/or programs. Children’s Case Management also provides supportive services such as social skills training, parent education, help learning new coping skills, supportive counseling, and crisis intervention.  Children’s Case Management Services are typically provided within the family home and in other community settings. Frequency of contact depends on the needs of each individual child and family.

Individual (Child) Therapy:  Therapy can help prevent behavioral issues, improve self-control, and assist in emotional adjustment, helping a child function more appropriately in relationships and social situations. Services are provided on a one-on-one basis. Services may be provided in the person’s home or at the clinic. The frequency of contact is based on the needs of the individual and/or family. Services begin with a complete assessment of the individual and/or family including presenting problem, reason for requesting services, past treatment, family history, etc.

Family Therapy Services:  Family therapy is provided to self-identified family members and may involve only two members of the family or the entire family.  One family member is identified as the primary consumer of SCCMHA services.

Family therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that works with multiple family members (grandparent, parent, caregiver, child, sibling) at the same time, within the same therapy session.  Central to a family therapy approach is that the focus of intervention is within the family system—within the interactions between family members, rather than through changing any one family member.   Each family member is encouraged to examine their role within the relationship(s) that they have with other family members and how their behaviors impact one another.  The goal of family therapy is to improve relationships and functioning within a family by helping each member understand their role in the dynamics of the family.  

Family therapy helps:

  • build healthy communication
  • resolves conflict
  • build understanding and appreciation of others’ perspective
  • balance the power structure among family members
  • build secure attachment relationships
  • improve general emotional adjustment in the family, thus enabling improved functioning and more appropriate interpersonal and social relationships.

Types of family therapy provided are:                   

  • Structured Family Therapy
  • Family Play therapy
  • Activity therapy
  • Supportive Family Therapy
  • Infant Mental Health
  • Child Parent Psychotherapy

Family therapy is provided by master’s level clinicians who generally have degrees in social work, psychology, or counseling, with the appropriate licensure.

Services are flexible and individualized according to the reason(s) for referral, the identified needs of each child/family and the concerns expressed by caregivers about their children and themselves. 

Intensive Family Based Services (Home-Based Services):  Intensive Family Based Services help children and families that have many needs, and who require access to a comprehensive array of mental health services. The family unit is the focus of intensive, in-home treatment, which can include individual and family therapy, collateral contacts, case management, parenting education, child and family skill building, psychiatric services, coordination with the school system and crisis intervention. Frequency of contact and intensity of service is based on the individual and family needs, but at a minimum, the therapist will see the individual/family one hour per week.

Group Therapy:  Therapeutic and educational groups for children, adolescents and parents vary. Groups often meet for six-to-eight weeks at the SCCMHA Child, Family & Youth Services location. Groups are led by professional mental health staff who may use established curriculum (Parenting Through Change, Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents) or a blend of therapeutic techniques that are geared towards the mental health needs of the group. Many adolescents find therapeutic groups to be beneficial in their overall mental health growth.    

Wraparound: Wraparound differs from many other service delivery strategies, in that it provides a comprehensive, holistic, youth and family-driven way of responding when children or youth experience serious mental health or behavioral challenges. Wraparound puts the child or youth and family at the center. With support from a team of professionals and natural supports, the family’s ideas, and perspectives about what they need and what will be helpful drive all the work in Wraparound.

The young person and their family members work with a Wraparound facilitator to build their Wraparound team, which can include the family’s friends and people from the wider community, as well as providers of services and supports.  With the help of the team, the family and young person take the lead in deciding team vision and goals, and in developing creative and individualized services and supports that will help them achieve the goals and vision. Team members work together to put the plan into action, monitor how well it’s working, and change it as needed. Children must meet several specific risk criteria to receive Wraparound services.

Children’s Case Manager-Juvenile Justice: The Juvenile Justice Case Manager provides services to youth with a serious emotional disturbance and or a developmental disability that have court involvement. The Juvenile Justice Specialist is available for mental health and risk assessment screenings, consultation, and meeting with individuals involved with the court system as needed or when requested. The Juvenile Justice Case Manager provides technical assistance, consultation, and training related to mental health issues to juvenile home employees, probate court staff and others.

Transitional Age Youth Services (TAY):  Transition Services support youth ages 14-21 years transitioning from children’s services to adult services, including from foster care to independence.  Transition Age Youth (TAY) services emphasize independent living skills development and learning to utilize community resources for those who have limited or no natural supports.  TAY utilizes case managers and a therapist to assist consumers in reaching their goals of independence, as well as offers group opportunities that support growth and independence. 

Youth Peer Support Services:  Certified Youth Peer Support Services (YPSS) are also available for youth.  These young people between the ages of 18-28 have faced mental health issues themselves and are specially trained to share their experiences and offer support.

Parent Support Partner Services (PSP): The PSP service is provided by parents or primary caregivers with first-hand experience navigating public, child serving agencies and raising a child with mental health and/or developmental challenges. Support provided to a family by a PSP will focus on increasing confidence as they find their voice when partnering with service providers, and will empower the parent or primary caregiver to develop sustainable, natural support networks after formal service delivery has ended. Parent Support Partners, serving as an equal member of the treatment team, will assist in identifying goals within the Family Centered Plan that will support the parent or primary caregiver to find their voice and confidence in parenting a child with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and/or intellectual developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Autism.

Psychiatric Services:  A psychiatrist is a medical doctor trained in mental and emotional disorders. Their services are frequently used when a child might benefit from psychiatric medications to assist in managing a mental health concern. Psychiatric services will include a psychiatric evaluation and medication reviews if medication is determined an appropriate treatment option.

Respite Care Services:  Respite Care Services give families a break from the intense care needs of their child/children. It gives parents and guardians the opportunity to relax, nurture other marital, family, or social relationships, and to attend to business outside the home. Respite services are provided on a short-term, intermittent basis. Respite may not be used as daycare to engage in outside employment. By supporting the family, we help them continue to care for their child at home.

Community Living Supports:  Designed to help your child become more independent and productive, community living supports promote your child’s participation in activities of daily community life. They are provided in both home and community settings.