Many children and youth experience times in their lives when their emotional health is impaired by circumstances beyond their control. With professional comprehensive mental health services, children and families can heal, develop resilience and rebuild emotionally healthy lives. Mental health services provided include: individual, family and group psychotherapy, crisis intervention, psychological testing, medication assessment and management, case management, and parent skill-building.
Crisis Intervention Services
When a child and/or family member is experiencing a crisis, which often occurs in the school, home and/or community, immediate assessment, triage and intervention is required. A master level therapist will provide a comprehensive crisis assessment to determine the level of therapeutic interventions required to stabilize the child and/or family member. The goal will be to stabilize the identified client in the presenting crisis situation preventing a more intensive level of mental health services such as hospitalization, removal from the home, expulsion from school, and/or police involvement. Thus, returning the identified client to the highest level of functioning and reintegrating successfully the client to the school, home and community setting. Crisis intervention services include eight to ten sessions. However, if the therapist is unable to successfully stabilize the crisis situation, planning with the family, school staff and/or collaborative involved will ensure a higher level of care appropriate to the crisis situation, i.e. intensive outpatient and/or intensive home based services.
Services include a comprehensive psychosocial assessment, individual, family and group psychotherapy. The outpatient services provide a structured nurturing therapeutic environment designed to promote successful home, school and community functioning by enhancing self-esteem, encouraging personal growth and development, and improving socialization skills within a group. Theoretical orientations for the implementation of therapeutic services include child centered theory, family systems theory, and strength based theory. Treatment techniques and interventions include, but are not limited to play therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, brief strategic family therapy, behavioral modification techniques, attachment therapy, trauma therapy, Gestalt Therapy, sand tray therapy and art therapy.
Medication Support and Management
Upon completion of the psychosocial assessment and throughout the treatment process, it will be determined if a psychiatric evaluation will be scheduled for possible use of psycho-pharmacological treatment. A board certified licensed psychiatrist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, establishing a positive relationship with the child and parent(s)/guardian, providing information on psycho-pharmacology, and on-going medication support and management.
Upon completion of the psychosocial assessment and throughout the treatment process, it will be determined if a psychological testing is indicated. Psychological testing can be instrumental in determining effective therapeutic goals or treatment interventions; determining diagnosis; assessing the level of cognitive functioning; ruling out psychosis; assessing developmental and educational deficits as well as strengths; and determining additional internal and external resources to meet client and family’s needs accordingly. The licensed psychologist will work with the agency’s multidisciplinary team, as well as community collaborative(s), i.e. schools, hospitals, etc., to gather history and/or data which will assist in determining methodology for further clinical assessment and treatment planning.
School Based Mental Health Services
Mental health services provided on-site at local schools in the community. The Whole Child partners with nine local school districts including East Whittier School District, South Whittier School District, Whittier City School District, Whittier Union High School District, El Rancho Unified School District, Little Lake School District, Los Nietos School District, Montebello Unified School District, and Norwalk/La Mirada School District. Over 21 schools receive school-based mental health services from The Whole Child.
Children and families will receive an array of case management services, which will include interagency, and intra-agency consultation, communication, coordination and referral, ensuring access to resources. A range of areas in which resources may be beneficial to the client and family such as: school, recreation, social supports, finances, housing, transportation, parenting, therapy for others in the family, emergency assistance (financial), vocation, child care, substance use, legal assistance, etc. Case Managers are trained to use this tool in a manner in which it will promote a sense of support and connectedness to the agency, and in which the therapist and Case Managers can work together to empower the clients to address the needs identified and implement the services recommended.
Intensive Outpatient Services
Full Service Partnership (FSP) – intensive in-home mental health services for children (birth to 15) and their families who are involved in multiple service systems such as Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Probation, and Special Education. Participants in this program qualify for a higher level of care due to their mental health needs and history of inpatient psychiatric care and/or residential treatment care. Referrals are made by Department of Mental Health (DMH), schools, and other community agencies.
Family Preservation (FP) – mental health services for children and their families who are current participants of the DCFS Family Preservation Program.
Field Capable Clinical Services (FCCS) – mental health services for children and families needing more than traditional outpatient services. The majority of these services take place in the community such as in the home and at school. This program is also considered a “step down” service from FSP.
Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT) – this is a comprehensive mental health assessment program for children recently detained by DCFS. Referrals are made by DCFS and DMH staff co-located at local DCFS offices. MAT assessments are conducted throughout Los Angeles County
Specialized Foster Care Services (SFCS) – comprehensive mental health services for children and adolescents currently involved with the foster care system in Los Angeles County due to issues of child abuse; referrals are made directly by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
Evidence Based Practices
Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) – intervention focused on assessing and treating trauma related symptoms such as post traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety. For clients ages 4 – 18.
Individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Ind CBT) – intervention focused on clients dealing with symptoms of depression, anxiety or trauma to help improve their daily functioning. For clients ages 16 years and older.
Seeking Safety – intervention focused on clients with a history of trauma and substance abuse with goal of increasing safety and coping skills. For clients ages 13 – 18.
Triple P – Positive Parenting Program (PPP) – intervention focused on helping parents deal with challenging behaviors. Designed for parents of clients ages birth to 12 (standard curriculum) and 13 – 16 (standard teen curriculum).
Managing and Adapting Practice (MAP) – research supported interventions for children with diverse mental health symptoms. The goal is to improve treatment outcomes based on research supported treatment. For clients ages 5 – 18.
Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) – intervention for children birth to 5 exposed to trauma, abuse, domestic violence etc. Focus is on the impact of trauma on the parent-child relationship and the goal is to promote a healthy attachment between parent and child by intervening early in the relationship.
Incredible Years (IY) – parenting program focused on children ages birth to age 1 which addresses parents’ use of praise and positive interaction with their children. Curriculum for parents with older children ages 2 – 8 addresses disruptive behaviors that interfere with functioning and home and school environments.
Aggression Replacement Therapy (ART) – Based on social learning and cognitive behavioral theories. Targets youth at-risk for aggression or antisocial behavior. The model incorporates three specific interventions: skill-streaming, anger-control training, and training in moral reasoning. For clients ages 12 – 17. Clients ages 5 – 12 receive only skill-streaming.
Birth to Five
Programs are sequenced in phases, including: Early Identification and Referral; Diagnosis of Developmental and/or Emotional Issues; and Treatment (Four Levels of Service). Treatment protocols within Early Attachments cover a spectrum of therapeutic services for infants and toddlers, and can be offered to the parent alone or in conjunction with the child. They include: Child-Parent Psychotherapy: psychotherapy for children 0-5 years; The Incredible Years: training to teach parents effective parenting strategies that promote young children’s social and emotional competence, reduce problem behaviors, and increase positive and nurturing parenting; Parents as Teachers: home-based service to teach parents appropriate activities and educational development for their infants/toddlers; Positive Parenting Program: training for parents of children with challenging behavioral problems; and Infant Massage: relaxation techniques to reduce crying and help infants sleep more soundly as well as promote healthy bonding through physical interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication. Additional services include developmental screenings, and support groups for women with post-partum depression. Strong community partnerships exist with PIH Health, Beverly Hospital and local Head Start schools. For more information please visit our Birth To Five Center page.
The Parent Project ®
The Whole Child offers parenting groups for our community utilizing The Parent Project curriculum for parents of teens and Loving Solutions (Parent Project, Jr.) for parents of elementary school aged children. The Parent Project curriculum offers a strength based approach that supports parents in strengthening their relationship with their children by promoting healthy communication. For more information please visit our Parent Project page.
The Whole Child’s housing division is committed to keeping families together and addressing homelessness by providing permanent supportive housing. The primary goal of the Housing First Model is to reflect current best practices for family placement into the community towards housing permanency. Homelessness ends when the individual or family is stabilized in permanent, affordable housing, whatever that permanent housing type may be and whatever the support systems that must be in place to help them stay there. To achieve this goal, a multi-pronged approach to addressing family homelessness is utilized and focuses on four key areas of action: (1) a coordinated entry system; (2) housing interventions strategies tailored to needs of individual families; (3) linkages to local mainstream support systems; and (4) utilization of evidenced-based practices. A Community-Based “Scattered” Site Model involving several “clusters” of apartments and scattered apartments throughout Southeastern Los Angeles County (SPA 7) to end homelessness will be utilized. For more information please visit our Family Housing page.