Behavioral Health Services for Children and Families

Information about DCHS Behavioral Health Services for children and families

Page updated on Nov 30, 2021 at 10:37 AM

Behavioral Health Services for Children and Families 

We engage youth with serious mental health, substance use or other behavioral challenges and/or significant trauma and their families in an array of services. In partnership with youth and families, services are designed to help children live and thrive in their homes and communities. As part of Alexandria’s System of Care, we coordinate closely with youth, families, their natural supports and colleagues in Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice and Education to ensure that our integrated services prioritize family and youth voice and choice, cultural influences and equity, outcome-based work and collaboration. We are committed to racial equity and strive to ensure our services are responsive to the impact of generations of racial trauma.

Services include:

  • Clinical assessment is a comprehensive evaluation that ensures the youth and family’s strengths, needs, history and preferences are taken into consideration to provide a behavioral health diagnosis and make bio-psycho-social service recommendations.  
  • Clinical case management services assist families with children with behavioral health challenges in accessing medical, psychiatric, social, educational, vocational, and other supports essential to meeting basic needs. 
  • Clinical consultation is one-time or ongoing consultation with system partners (Center for Alexandria’s Children, Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare, Education, Family Assessment and Planning Team, etc.) regarding child & family behavioral health needs, resources and processes.  
  • Early intervention counseling is for youth in public middle and high schools whose mental health and/or substance use needs benefit from short term supportive counseling or for youth in detention who need support to manage the stress of being detained. 
  • Family and individual therapy includes treatment practices that are trauma-informed and based on research and evidence such as Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and elements of Multi Systemic Therapy.
  • FAPT Case Support provides guidance and administrative support to families seeking services funded through the Children’s Services Act by Alexandria’s Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT) when Child Welfare, Court Service Unit or ACPS are not involved.
  • High Fidelity Wraparound is a structured, evidence based, team-based collaborative planning process that develops and carries out individualized care plans for children with serious behavioral health challenges and their families and/or children involved with child welfare or juvenile justice.
  • Hospital discharge planning ensures that youth hospitalized for psychiatric reasons are linked to appropriate services upon discharge.
  • Independent Assessment Certification and Coordination Team (IACCT) provides assessment and recommendations when psychiatric residential treatment is a consideration for youth with Medicaid or funding from the Children’s Services Act.
  • Intensive Care Coordination (ICC) assists families with children at risk of out-of-home placement and their professional and natural supports to find solutions, so children remain in their community. 
  • Peer support via Family Support Partners (professionals with personal experience navigating a child serving system with children in their care) who engage parent/guardian in individual or group services that support family voice and choice, increase family engagement in child’s services and build natural support with the goal of self-sufficiency.
  • Psychological testing is helpful when more information about a child is needed to determine the best possible treatment plan; it may include cognitive, academic, neuropsychological and/or social emotional functioning testing.
  • Psychiatry services for children and youth include evaluation and medication management.

Service Location and Eligibility
Most services are via telehealth (video or telephone). Elements of psychological testing are in person and psychiatry may be in person.

Services are available to eligible families, and there are service providers assigned to:

  • Center for Alexandria’s Children
  • DCHS Child Welfare Services
  • T.C. Williams Main and Minnie Howard Campuses
  • Teen Wellness Center
  • George Washington and Francis C. Hammond Middle Schools
  • Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center & ShelterCare

 To be eligible for services, a child must:

  • have a legal guardian who is a resident of the City of Alexandria
  • be between the ages of 5 and 21
  • have an IQ score of 70 or above, and
  • meet at least one of the following:
    • diagnosis of a serious emotional disturbance or substance abuse disorder
    • involvement with Child Welfare or Juvenile Justice or
    • is returning to the community from detention, a residential treatment program or a foster care placement

To ensure access to those most in need, we prioritize youth who are most at risk and those with Medicaid or no insurance.

Accessing Child & Family Behavioral Health Services 

 Call  571.213.7963 or email Messages are returned within one business day. Services provided in English, Spanish and Amharic with access to other languages using video/telephone interpretation.

Family Representatives 

Apply to be the Family Representative on the Alexandria Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT).  Learn more:  English | Spanish | Amharic | Arabic

Apply to be the Family Representative on the Alexandria Community Policy Management Team (ACPMT). Learn more: English | Spanish | Amharic | Arabic