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Children’s Mental Health

SWHHS provides services to children with mental health conditions based on eligibility.  Eligibility is determined by the results of a Diagnostic Assessment by a mental health professional.  The Diagnostic Assessment is a written evaluation of the child’s current life situation and sources of stress, current functioning and symptoms, history of mental health problems, diagnosis and statement of Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED) and a need for mental health services.


To be eligible for case management and Family Community Support Services, the child must be a child  “with severe emotional disturbance (SED)” which means a child who has an emotional disturbance and who meets one of the following criteria:

girl and her parents at psychologist consultation

The term “child with severe emotional disturbance” shall be used only for purposes of county eligibility determinations.

  • The child has been admitted within the last three years or is at risk of being admitted to in patient treatment or residential treatment for an emotional disturbance; or

  • The child is a Minnesota resident and is receiving in patient treatment or residential treatment for an emotional disturbance through the interstate compact; or

  • The child has one of the following as determined by a mental health professional:

    • Psychosis or clinical depression; or
    • Risk of harming self or others as a result of an emotional disturbance; or
    • Psychopathological symptoms as a result of being a victim of physical or sexual abuse or of psychic trauma within the past year; or
  • The child, as a result of an emotional disturbance, has significantly impaired home, school, or community functioning that has lasted at least one year or that, in the written opinion of a mental health professional, presents substantial risk of lasting at least one year.

Available Services

A county case manager is assigned to assist the family develop an Individual Community Treatment Plan (ITP) which serves as a guide to the services that are needed to assist the child and family.  A case manager will also assist with referrals for services and monitors the services to see that they are appropriate and meeting the needs of the child.

Children's Therapeutic Services and Supports (CTSS) is one of the rehabilitative mental health services.  The spectrum of services available under CTSS allows providers to address the conditions of emotional disturbance that impair and interfere with individuals’ abilities to function independently in their communities.  Rehabilitative services offer a broad range of medical and remedial services and skills to help restore individuals’ self sufficiency/functional abilities to the degree possible.

The delivery and design of the rehabilitative mental health services system are to bring the service to the individual in the community.  Community based services may be a viable and preferred alternative to in patient hospitalization or institutionalization.

CTSS is a flexible package of mental health services for children who require varying therapeutic and rehabilitative levels of intervention.  CTSS services are time limited interventions that are delivered using various treatment modalities and combinations of services designed to reach treatment outcome identified in the ITP.

CTSS ranges from limited community based services that resemble traditional office based practice to services that are more structured and intensive such as day treatment and those requiring more extensive collaboration between a number of providers or agencies.

Crisis Response Services are short term services initiated during a crisis to help the child return to the previous level of functioning. They are provided on site by a mobile crisis response team outside of Urgent Care, in patient, or out patient hospital settings.

Day treatment is a structured mental health treatment program consisting of group psychotherapy and other intensive therapeutic services provided by a multidisciplinary team under the clinical supervision of a mental health professional and available twelve months of the year.

Day treatment services stabilize the child’s mental health status while developing and improving the child’s independent living and socialization skills.  The goal is to reduce or relieve the effects of mental illness and provide training to enable the child to live in the community.  Day treatment services are not part of in patient or residential treatment services.

Individual therapy is private sessions between the child and a therapist to work on mental health issues, to teach new and appropriate coping skills, and to work through issues preventing healthy behavior, moods, and thoughts.

Family Based Services consist of in home services to assist the family grow stronger with appropriate boundaries, discipline, and consequences for behavior.  The home based provider goes into the family home to provide services.

Psychiatric Care consists of appointment meetings with a physician who has specialized in mental health diagnosis and treatment for medication prescribing and monitoring.

Residential Treatment Services are a 24 hour a day program under the clinical supervision of a mental health professional and provided in a community setting other than an acute care hospital or a regional treatment center. Residential treatment must be designed to:

  • Prevent placement in settings that are more intensive, costly, or restrictive than necessary and appropriate to meet the child’s needs
  • Help the child improve family living and social interaction skills
  • Help the child gain the necessary skills to return to the community
  • Stabilize crisis admissions
  • Work with families throughout the placement to improve the ability of the families to care for children with Severe Emotional Disturbance in the home

It is important to note that all other community services must be exhausted prior to residential treatment services, as services are most effective in the home.

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