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Protocol for the Admission of Children to Psychiatric Treatment Facilities


(Child and Adolescent Service System Program)


1. The CASSP-Case Management project is a community demonstration project funded by a grant from the North Carolina Division of Mental Health/ Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse Services with funds from the National Institute of Mental Health. The project is designed to provide case management services to children and adolescents who have been diagnosed as seriously emotionally disturbed (SED). The project uses the following definition for SED: “children between the ages of 0-18 years of age who, on the basis of psychosis or other emotional/behavioral disorder, suffer from a severe disability which requires sustained treatment interventions for a year or more, and which requires the attention of two or more agencies.” The project emphasizes the development of alternatives to psychiatric hospitalization and/or the reduction in the number of days that children and adolescents are hospitalized.


2. Anyone who wants to refer a child to the project may do so by completing a referral form (Appendix D) or by contacting the project directly. New referrals are staffed by an internal staffing team consisting of the case managers and a supervising psychologist. A child accepted for case management services will be assigned a case manager who is responsible for forming an interagency team to plan, coordinate and monitor the child’s services.


3. For children who are not hospitalized, CASSP will assist the parents in planning for crisis situations. Such plans will incorporate services available from persons and agencies already involved with the child and family.


a) The crisis plan will identify specific behaviors that could cause a parent to seek psychiatric hospitalization for his/her child. The plan will identify specific procedures to follow, persons to contact, how to access services through an emergency unit or obtain a petition for involuntary commitment. Crisis plans are individualized and will include alternatives to hospitalization.


b) If services for the child are sought through the Center for Mental Health, the case manager will discuss the plan with the emergency unit staff at that facility.


c) If hospitalization is pursued, the case manager may be present with the child and family during the emergency room assessment and, if the child is admitted, will contact pertinent team members to inform them of the admission.


For children who are hospitalized, CASSP will maintain contact with the child, the parents, the interagency team members, and with other services providers to facilitate the treatment process and the development of an appropriate discharge plan.


a) CASSP will obtain a release of information from the parents authorizing the case managers to access the information from the treatment facility and will attend and participate in hospital staffings and court hearings.


b) Case managers will monitor the implementation of the discharge plan, will assure that a crisis plan is again in place and will continue to utilize the interagency team and appropriate services to help assure that the child’s needs are met.



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