Crisis Stabilization

Overview:  Crisis stabilization is a 24 hour, short term residential program that offers the child and family a “cooling off” period from a particular crisis. This short term intervention is designed to enable crisis stabilization staff an opportunity to make good, appropriate assessments and interventions that may prevent a longer out of home disruption.

There are two crisis stabilization programs in Connecticut. One located in Farmington on the UCONN Medical Center Campus a program of Wheeler Clinic and one in Hamden a program of the Children’s Center.

Target Population:  The target population for crisis stabilization includes children and/or youth age 7 – 18 who present with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) Axis I diagnosis, or who exhibit complex behavioral health service needs and are at imminent risk of requiring longer term, out of home levels of care.

Admission Criteria:   Crisis stabilization will accept all referrals made by Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Service (EMPS) providers that meet the following criteria:

  • Age 7-18 and agree to a voluntary admission
  • Psychiatric status is not acute and the child and/or youth is able to enter into a written safety contract
  • Separation from the family is required in order to stabilize the immediate crisis within a 15 day perod
  • A viable discharge resource is in place
Services:  Crisis stabilization will accept referrals seven days a week, 52 weeks per year.

The length of service for crisis stabilization service is intended to be a maximum of 15 nights unless authorization is received for an extension from the DCF Area Office Mental Health Program Director or designee.

The crisis stabilization or EMPS provider will complete an assessment on each child and/or youth within 24 hours of admission. The assessment will provide a clinical integration of medical, psychosocial, educational and previous treatment history information and will address the needs of the child and/or youth within the context of his/her family and community.

Clinical services include screening and referral, individual, group and family treatment, consultation, linkage to family substance abuse screening or other services, family sessions and age appropriate therapy. Clinical staff members coordinate their clinical interventions with community providers delivering services to the child and/or family. In addition, contractors have access to a psychiatrist in order to provide consultation, assessment and evaluation services.

Empowerment and family support services include parental guidance, empowerment and support, inclusion in transition/discharge planning and linkage to other community services, such as parent education and instructional modeling. Clinical programming for families should accommodate family work schedules.

Medication management includes consultation and assessment from a psychiatrist or an APRN under the direction of a psychiatrist

Other services include transition to psychiatric, medical care or other appropriate services as necessary upon discharge; case management, including the development of a child specific treatment plan and coordination with local community service providers; and aftercare.