Behavioral Health Services for Children and Families

Information about DCHS Behavioral Health Services for children and families

Page updated on Nov 13, 2019 at 4:04 PM

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.  

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.  
  • Community supportservices 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 interventioncounseling 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.

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, 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 

No appointment is needed. Legal guardians walk in with their child on Tuesdays or Wednesdays between 9 and 10:30 a.m. at 720 N. St. Asaph Street (across from the Harris Teeter; please check in on the 2nd floor). Families can also walk in on Thursdays between 10 and 11:30 a.m. at the Center for Alexandria’s Children, 1900 N. Beauregard Street, Suite 200.

Providers involved with referrals are asked to 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. Legal guardians seeking Intensive Care Coordination (ICC) services do not walk in; please contact us by phone or email.

For more information, contact us at 571.213.7963 or We provide services in English, Spanish and Amharic with access to other languages using telephone interpretation.