Community-Based Mental Health Services


A Message from the Director
Community-Based Mental Health Services are designed to assist children, youth and their families with a range of mental health, psychiatric and substance use disorders.  These services are provided in the home or community, often preventing the need for more intensive and more restrictive care such as hospital, residential, or group home services. 
DCF has the statutory authority for providing an integrated system of services and supports for children and adolescents with substance abuse and mental health disorders.  In addition, the division of community mental health and substance abuse oversees an array of programs and services that address the mental health and substance abuse treatment needs of children involved with DCF's Child Protection and Juvenile Services Divisions as well as some of the youth involved with the Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division.  
Tim Marshall

Children's Mental Health Information and Resources  

Anxiety:  All children experience anxiety and a certain amount of anxiety during childhood is normal and expected.  However, when the level of anxiety no longer fits the situation, or when anxiety and stress begin to interfere with relationships or functioning at home, school, or elsewhere, professional evaluation and treatment may be required.   For more information the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers information, resources, and guidance regarding children, stress, and anxiety. 


Children's Mental Health Information and Resources

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Bullying
  • Childhood Trauma
  • Depression
  • Disruptive Behavior
  • Finding a Therapist
  • Medication
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Autism
  • Services
  • Substance Abuse
  • Suicide (Connecticut Youth Suicide Advisory Board)


Depression:  Children can and do suffer from depression but will also respond positively to appropriate treatment.  Outpatient clinics for children in CT provide a range of psychotherapies for children who are depressed.  WebMD provides a good overview of childhood depression and both the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  The American Psychological Association offers a host of resources on this topic.  


Disruptive Behavior

No child or youth is perfect and some degree of challenging behavior is to be expected at one or more points during childhood.  Children do not always do what they are asked to do and may occasionally exhibit tantrums or be oppositional towards rules and directions.  When disobedient, defiant, assaultive, or anti-social rule breaking behavior happens more frequently, becomes dangerous or harmful, or interferes with the child's relationships with families, peers, or others, help may be required.

Disruptive Behavior Disorders are a group of problem behaviors most often observed in boys and that affect 5-9% of children in the US .  In many cases a child may also have other problems as well.   Disruptive Behavior Disorders include:

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Conduct Disorder, and
  • Disruptive Behavior Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

Several successful approaches to the treatment of Disruptive Behavior Disorders have been identified and treatment often depends on the age of the child and whether other problems are present   For further information on ODD and other disorders please visit the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry  or seek assistance from a private practitioner or one of CT's licensed outpatient psychiatric clinics for children

  • Childhood Trauma
  • Aggression
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Autism
  • Substance Abuse
  • Finding a Therapist
  • Medication

Improvement Projects and Research

Grants and Research Projects

  • ACF Trauma Grant
  • SAMHSA Service to Science (EMPS)
  • NIDA Evaluation of MDFT
  • Evaluation of Project Safe Recovery Support Pilots
  • Evaluation of FBR
  • Community Mental Health Block Grant
  • Data Infrastructure Grant (DIG)
  • CCSU/CHDI Grant - Children of Incarcerated parents

Performance Improvement Projects

  • Promoting Family Engagement with Outpatient Mental Health Clinics
  • Disseminating/supporting Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Promoting Improved Network and Fidelity Management Processes with Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services
  • Transition Family Support Teams to MDT
  • Developing Data Dashboards for Services

Trauma Resources
Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency (ARC) framework
Trauma Informed Care

In you have any questions about Trauma or Trauma Informed Interventions, please contact:

Contact Us:

Tim Marshall LCSW, 860-550-6531,
Mary Cummins MSW, 860-550-6478,
Karen Mahoney, Ph.D., 860-881-5839,
Arnold Trasente, Ph.D., 860-550-6393,
Bethany Zorba, 860-550-6539,