Family Based Mental Health is an intensive, in-home family therapy program funded through the Erie County Department of Human Services. The program is based on a Structural Family Therapy Model with ongoing training provided by the Philadelphia Child and Family Therapy Training Center, Inc. A treatment team consisting of one Master Level Mental Health Professional and one Bachelor Level Mental Health worker delivers services. Each team carries a caseload of approximately six families with length of service being one to six months with the potential of up to a two month extension. The program is unique in that it provides therapy services; 24 hours a day, 7 days per week on-call services; and family support services (respite). In addition, this service is reimbursable by Medical Assistance monies and there are no fees to the family.
The primary goal of the Pennsylvania Family Based Mental Health Services is to assist parents in caring for their children with emotional problems. It is designed to prevent hospitalization/placement outside of the home due to a psychiatric disability. Emphasis is on families as partners and services are provided in the families’ homes.
The program services Erie County residents age 0-21, with a mental health diagnosis. At least one adult caretaker in the home must be in agreement to the program. A psychiatrist or licensed psychologist must certify that this is the most appropriate treatment for the child. In addition, referrals go through the Mental Health Base Service Unit. The designated Family Based Mental Health Liaison is responsible for the waiting list, prioritizing and selecting the next appropriate case. Coordination between the Project Director and the Liaison is a continuous process. The program has grown to meet client needs.