Westchestergov.com Mental Health

Children's Mental Health Services

Children’s Mental Health Services in Westchester County are among the finest in the nation, with a wide array of innovative practices and evidence-based treatments. We believe that helping children grow and thrive is everyone’s responsibility, and that families should always be in the driver’s seat. That is why we have partnered closely with families and family-run organizations to develop and sustain a “system of care” which not only gives children access to a variety of services, but also ensures that these services are coordinated and individualized to meet a child and family’s needs.

According to the guiding principles of Westchester’s System of Care, services should be:

  • Driven by the family
  • Based in the community
  • Supported by a team
  • Determined to never give up
  • Organized around a child’s and family’s strengths
  • Individualized
  • Sensitive and responsive to culture and race

Child and Family Network Meetings
One of the most effective ways these principles are put into action is through what we call Child and Family Network Meetings. Caregivers work with a trusted provider to bring to the table a variety of people helping their child. These are people chosen by the family, and may include a relative or friend, pediatrician, school guidance counselor, therapist, clergy member, social services caseworker, or juvenile justice officer.  Everyone within this circle of support works together to develop a plan that builds on the child’s strengths and addresses families’ concerns.

There are typically follow-up meetings to check up on the plan and revise it if necessary. Anyone can request a network meeting, and there is no charge. If you think your family might benefit from this approach, or would like to learn more about Child and Family Network Meetings, please call Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (914) 995-4666.

Specialized Services
Some children need more-intensive services than can be provided by a Child and Family Network alone or outpatient therapy. Such children may be at risk for residential placement, or may have had multiple hospitalizations and involvement with multiple systems.

Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) connects to a range of specialized services, most of which are home-based, to help children thrive in the community and to provide relief for families. Such services include intensive case management, skill building, advocacy, recreational activities, brief home-based family therapy and respite. These services can be accessed through DCMH’s Single Point of Access. For more information, please contact our Children’s SPOA Coordinator at (914) 995-7458.

Westchester County offers a full array of mental health services to children and families.  They include the following:

Clinic Services
Clinic treatment services are provided to children and their families. The needs of each individual determine the type of sessions (individual, play, group, family), their duration and frequency. Several non-profit outpatient mental health clinics exist throughout Westchester County.

Psychiatric Hospitals
Youngsters with emotional challenges, who need inpatient care, are served by several psychiatric hospitals located throughout Westchester County.

School-Based Mental Health Services
Westchester County school districts offer several types of educational programs that include mental health services. One category of program is New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) Licensed Day Treatment. Day treatment programs provide comprehensive services for children who experience serious emotional challenges through supervised, planned activities and intensive child-staff interaction. Treatment is usually provided in a year-round, five-day-per-week program and is integrated with appropriate education services. Approval of the child's school district is required.  In addition to OMH Day Treatment Programs, many school districts collaborate with mental health agencies to offer clinical services in the school setting.

Family Support
Family Ties of Westchester is a grassroots organization, founded and operated by parents of children with mental health issues, that provides advocacy and support to families of children with emotional, social and behavioral challenges. At its seven Resource Centers in Mount Kisco, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Ossining, Peekskill, White Plains and Yonkers, Family Ties offers support groups, parent skills training, advocacy, and respite opportunities. Family Ties recognizes parents as full partners in planning for their children's treatment and services and helps empower them to take part in the decision-making process.

Family Ties provides a wide variety of support groups for parents, grandparents, siblings, foster parents, and dads only. They offer specialized groups to the parents of very young children, and services to parents with their own psychiatric issues. In addition to respite opportunities, parent skills training, and recreational opportunities, parent retreats, educational workshops, leadership training and spokesperson training are also available. Family Ties strives to keep children in the community, at home with their families and provides advocacy services, one-to-one work with families, and telephone support. They also maintain a resource library for parents, and have computers available for family use at their resource centers. All of Family Ties' services are free and confidential. For additional information on Family Ties of Westchester please call (914) 995-5238.

Early Childhood
Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health has mobilized efforts to develop and support an early childhood system of care built on strong partnerships among parents and professionals across systems that serve young children (0-6 years of age) and their families. The Early Childhood System of Care encompasses principles of primary, secondary and tertiary care with services and supports available in pre-school, day-care and Head-Start settings and in community based mental health clinics, with a focus on the concept that promoting young children’s positive emotional, social and behavioral skills is key to ensuring children’s success in school and in life.  For additional information and resources contact (914) 995-6377.