Children and Family Services Program

Children And Family Services

Program Manager: Kate Spencer, MSW



It is the mission of the Children and Family Services to collaborate with children and families to provide a wide range of mental health services to improve the quality of life for the family unit. Children and Family Services is comprised of a highly qualified multi-faceted team that uses a team approach with the family and other community agencies involved with the family.


The following array of service available by the Children and Family Services are provided in the office as well as in the home and community settings:

  • Intensive Home-Based
  • Supports Coordination
  • Individual Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Skill Building Groups
  • Infant Mental Health (IMH)
  • Parent Support Partners (PSP)
  • Psychiatric Services
  • Crisis Services
  • Respite
  • Summer Respite Camp
  • Community Living Supports (CLS)


The purpose of this program is to provide intensive home and community based services to children, adolescents, and families with multiple service needs who require access to a continuum of mental health services. The program serves children who have a severe emotional disturbance (SED), and their families, who are at risk of out-of-home placement or who are just returning from an out-of-home placement.

The Home-Based Services is a community-based program where services are provided for the family in their home and the community. The services provide support and empower families, emphasize assertive intervention, parent and professional teamwork, and community involvement with other service providers. The services are provided by a team of staff and are documented in the Family Plan of Service. This program is moderately intense and provides two to five hours of service per week to each family. However, during periods of family crisis, additional hours of service will be provided.

Home-Based Services are a combination of individual therapy, family therapy, crisis intervention, case management, care coordination, and family collateral contacts. These contacts may be with the identified person served or with collateral family members. Collateral contacts are used to obtain information as necessary to plan appropriate treatment or to assist family members so they can respond therapeutically to the identified child's problems, needs, and/or behaviors.


Supports Coordination is a service that assists persons served and their families, through the person-centered planning process, to design and implement strategies for obtaining services and supports that are goal-oriented and individualized. Supports Coordination services are needed when the needs of the person served exceed the capacity of the parental support system to sustain and improve the level of functioning in the community.

The core components of Supports Coordination are assessment, planning, linking, advocacy, coordination and monitoring. Once a person served has been assessed to need Supports Coordination and a Supports Coordinator has been chosen, the person-centered planning process begins. Through the person-centered planning process, the needs and desires of the person served are established and the plan for meeting these is developed. Linking needs are established through the plan and the person responsible for each component of the plan is established. It is then the role of the Supports Coordinator to coordinate the identified services and link the person served to needed services. Finally, the Supports Coordinator is responsible to monitor progress toward the goals at intervals defined through the person-centered planning process or as the need arises. This monitoring includes a review of satisfaction with the services provided with the person served.


This is a treatment activity designed to reduce maladaptive behaviors, maximize behavioral self-control or restore normalized psychological functioning, reality orientation, motivation and emotional adjustment, thus enabling improved functioning and more appropriate interpersonal and social relationships. Restoration of normalized psychological functioning often involves the resolution of trauma-inflicted injury, improved self-esteem, or building of ego strengths.

Types of individual therapy offered are:

  • Supportive psychotherapy
  • Behavior interventions
  • Cognitive re-structuring
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Insight-oriented psychotherapy
  • Psycho-educational therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Infant-parent psychotherapy
  • Trauma resolution therapy

Individual therapy is provided by master's level clinicians who generally have degrees in social work, psychology, or counseling, with the appropriate licensure. When provided as part of a home-based service, it is primarily provided in a home or community setting, rather than an office setting.


This is a treatment activity designed to reduce maladaptive behaviors in the family, balance the power structure, build healthy communication, build attachment relationships and cohesion, and 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

Family therapy is provided by master's level clinicians who generally have degrees in social work, psychology, or counseling, with the appropriate licensure. When provided as part of a home-based service, it is primarily provided in a home or community setting, rather than an office setting.


This is a treatment activity designed to reduce maladaptive behaviors, build healthy communication, build attachment relationships and cohesion, improve social skills, and improve general emotional adjustment, thus enabling improved functioning and more appropriate interpersonal and social relationships.

Types of group therapy provided are:

  • Social skills training
  • Activity therapy
  • Wellness
  • Child management
  • Rotating other topics available

Group therapy is generally provided under the guidance of master's level clinicians who have degrees in social work, psychology, or counseling, with the appropriate licensure. Bachelor prepared Supports Coordinators and PSP who are experienced with children might assist in social skills training or provide activity therapy. Group therapy services are generally provided in the agency setting, although some community-based groups are facilitated.


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapists apply the principles of behavior analysis to treat patients who have difficulties with socially significant behaviors. These may include social skills, reading, communication, personal self-care and work skills. ABA therapy is an effective treatment for children with autism because ABA therapists are often able to help autistic children increase positive behaviors and reduce interfering behaviors through the use of reinforcement procedures.

ABA therapists work one-on-one with patients. Therapy often takes place in the patient's home and in some cases, the child's school. ABA therapists utilize highly structured treatment programs that are geared toward the specific patient's needs. Therapists do not create these plans themselves, but instead use programs that are devised by behavioral consultants.

ABA therapists use the principles of behavior analysis to help patients improve social, play, language and academic skills, while helping reduce interfering behaviors, which may include aggressive behavior like biting or pinching. They reinforce positive behaviors and intervene when patients exhibit undesirable behaviors. ABA therapists continually evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment program, and make any necessary changes to help patients learn new skills and behaviors more effectively.


Parent Support Partner's, serving as an equal member of the treatment team will assist in identifying goals within the Person Centered/Family Centered Plan that will support the parent to develop skills, knowledge, resources, and confidence in parenting a child with serious emotional disturbance (SED). The Parent Support Partner Service, provided by another parent who has first-hand experience navigating the public child serving agencies and raising a child with mental health challenges, will focus on increasing confidence and competence in parenting skills, increasing the parent's knowledge to better navigate systems and partner with service providers, and empower the parent to develop sustainable, natural support networks after formal service delivery has ended.

The Parent Support Partner service is a Medicaid billable, B3 service identified to address specific goal areas within the Person Centered/Family Centered Plan. Parent Support Partners are typically utilized to enhance the therapeutic process of the clinician by working directly with caregivers to expand, enhance and increase the skills, knowledge and abilities needed to meet the numerous challenges facing families of youth with mental health needs


The primary mission of the Infant Mental Health is to promote and support nurturing relationships for all infants. The focus is on the development of the infant or toddler within the context of complex relationships. Services are comprehensive and intensive, covering multiple domains, including concrete needs, problem solving skills, and family relationships, as well as infant/toddler development, parent-infant interactions and developing attachment relationships. Services are supportive, affirming, and strengths-based. They are specifically designed to be respectful of the infant's and family's individuality, culture and ethnicity.

Infant Mental Health has the ability to develop physically, cognitively, and socially in a manner which allows them to master the primary emotional tasks of early childhood without serious disruption caused by harmful life events. Because infants grow in a context of nurturing environments, infant mental health involves the psychological balance of the infant-family system.


Some of the youth served in Children and Family Services also receive psychiatric services. These services include psychiatric evaluation and medication review.

Psychiatric evaluation: A comprehensive evaluation, performed face-to-face by a psychiatrist, which investigates a person's clinical status, including the presenting problem; the history of the present illness; previous psychiatric, physical, and medication history; relevant personal and family history; personal strengths and assets; and a mental status examination. This examination concludes with a written summary.

Medication review: The process of evaluating and monitoring medications, their effects, and the need for continuing or changing the medication regimen.


Crisis services are provided on an ongoing basis through the continued monitoring and outreach to children and families. However, if after outreach efforts to stabilize the child and/or family (e.g., medication review, increased contacts) have proven ineffective the child and/or family can contact our triage staff or call the crisis hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Summer respite camp is an option for the parents of children who receive other services with Lapeer County CMH. This service is provided as a relief to the parents, but also as an opportunity for the children to participate in normal activities with other children. The types and frequency of summer respite camp activities will be individually determined and based on age groups.


Respite services are services provided to a person served to temporarily relieve the unpaid primary caregiver of supervision or personal care services. These services provide short-term care to a child and offer a brief period of rest or relief for the family from the day-to-day care giving of a dependent family member. The array of respite services available are flexible to the particular needs of the person served and the family and should include the capacity to provide services in emergency situations. The need for these services must be identified in the personal family-centered plan.

Individual respite services are provided by contracted providers who have elected to work with children with severe emotional impairments.


Community Living Supports are used to increase or maintain personal self-sufficiency, facilitating an individual's achievement of his/her goals of community inclusion and participation, independence or productivity. The supports may be provided in the participant's residence or in community settings. CLS assists with keeping the child placed with their parents in a natural home setting.

CLS may support and/or train with activities such as:

  • Socialization and relationship building
  • Activities of daily living (e.g., bathing, eating, dressing, personal hygiene)
  • Transportation from the beneficiary's residence to community activities
  • Other tasks described in the Person-Centered Plan

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