There are children with mental health disorders for whom traditional outpatient care programs just aren’t enough. Like some medical conditions, these disorders can be complex and multi-layered, and mounting difficulties at home and in school can quickly overwhelm the family. Thanks to a new certification for Lincoln County’s Child and Family Behavioral Health program, a multidisciplinary team is prepared to help.
Intensive In-Home Behavioral Health Treatment (IIHBT) is an expansion of Oregon’s continuum of care for children, offering a community-based alternative for families that require intensive help but want to do so without residential treatment or hospitalization. In April, the clinicians, care coordinators, and case managers of Lincoln County Health and Human Service’s Child and Family Health Program completed their training and officially became certified by the state to deliver IIHBT.
“The IIHBT approach allows us to provide four hours of intensive services each week to a child in need,” explained Linda Gray, Children's Mental Health Program Manager. “Those services may include individual counseling, group counseling, family therapy, skills training, case management, and any kind of psychiatric services the child may require,” she added.
To qualify for IIHBT, children and youth must have multiple behavioral health diagnoses that are having an impact on multiple areas of their life, like in school and at home. There may also be risks or concerns about safety.
In some situations, a child may be at risk of needing out-of-home treatment or placement, or they may be transitioning back home from those types of programs. The duration of this in-home, intensive approach is typically six months and is funded by a state grant. Gray and her team can treat patients as young as three years old through the age of 20. "There are as many as one in five children with a treatable mental health disorder,” she said. “The sooner these issues are recognized, the sooner the child can be treated. Earlier identification often means a more successful outcome.”
Each family participating in the IIBHT meets with a member of the care team, who will develop an assessment and service plan to outline the approach to treatment. Although they prefer to interact in person, some of the program may be delivered via telehealth if that is the family’s preference. At least one of the services must be delivered face-to-face to meet state requirements. The use of youth and family peers is also part of the intensive approach. Signe Miller, of the Oregon Family Support Network, is one of those peers, helping families navigate through what can sometime be the complex world of mental health services. OFSN conducts support groups, offers parenting classes, and works as tireless advocates for the families the organization serves.
OFSN is contracted by Lincoln County to expand the services that can be offered to families in need, both as part of the IIBHT program and other behavioral health services. Providing four support groups around the county is another of the important roles OFSN plays. Child and Family Health offers a variety of programs in addition to IIHBT to treat mental health disorders and provide support to families. To learn more about this new program, call (541) 265-4179 and ask about the in-home intensive program.