Behavioral Health Services for Children and Families

Information about DCHS Behavioral Health Services for children and families

Page updated on Jul 9, 2019 at 2:35 PM

Behavioral Health Services for Children and Families 

We engage youth with serious emotional or behavioral challenges and/or significant trauma and their families in a range of behavioral health services. In partnership with youth and families, services are designed to help children live and thrive in their homes and communities.

Services for youth with serious emotional or behavioral challenges and/or significant trauma and their families 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 service recommendations.  
  • 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 behavioral health needs, resources and processes.  
  • Community support services represent a broad array of community-based services for youth and families that build skills and natural supports that empower families to stay together with limited professional support; often paired with community-based therapy.  
  • Early intervention counseling is for youth in public middle and high schools whose urgent mental health 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 are trauma-informed and based on research and evidence such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.  
  • 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.   
  • Hospital discharge planning ensures that youth hospitalized for psychiatric reasons are linked to appropriate services upon discharge.  
  • Independent Assessment Certification and Coordination Team 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 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 their children) 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.  

As part of Alexandria’s System of Care, we coordinate closely with youth, families, their natural supports and our colleagues in Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice and Education to ensure that our network of services is:

  • family driven
  • individualized, strengths based, and evidence informed
  • youth guided
  • culturally and linguistically competent
  • provided in the least restrictive environment
  • community based
  • accessible
  • collaborative and coordinated across an inter-agency network

Service Locations

Services take place at the following locations:

  • Mental Health Center, 720 N. St. Asaph Street
  • Community – including family homes, schools, etc.
  • Center for Alexandria’s Children (clinicians co-located), 1900 N. Beauregard Street
  • T.C. Williams Main and Minnie Howard Campuses (clinicians co-located)
  • Teen Wellness Center (clinician co-located)
  • George Washington and Francis C. Hammond Middle Schools (clinicians co-located)
  • Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center
  • ShelterCare    


To be eligible for services, the 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

In order 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 Behavioral Health Assessment for Services

Please walk in with your child or youth on Tuesdays or Wednesdays between 9 and 10:30 a.m. Our office is located at 720 N. St. Asaph Street, across from the Harris Teeter; please check in on the 2nd floor. No appointment is needed. Learn more.

Providers making referrals are asked to please contact us in advance of when the family plans to walk in and to send us all relevant documentation. This is to ensure a meaningful assessment.

For more information, contact us at 571.213.7963 or