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Family Based Mental Health Program Overview

Family Based Mental Health Services are designed to reduce the need for psychiatric hospitalization and out-of-home placement.

Family Based Services enable the family to maintain its role as the primary care giver for their children and adolescents. These services are also used as a step-down for children returning to their family following out-of-home placement.

Services are delivered in the home and community at times most convenient to the family in a manner that promotes family cohesiveness. Services are governed by the child or adolescent’s and family’s need. They may include:

  • Family and individual therapy
  • Referral, coordination and linkage to other agencies, social services and community services, as appropriate
  • Crisis intervention and stabilization
  • Assistance in obtaining relief services such as babysitters, homemakers, respite care and supportive services such as transportation and recreation, and developing a network in order to receive these services
  • School-based consultation and intervention
  • Support for the parents in implementing effective behavior management and parenting approaches to the presenting problems of their child or adolescent
  • Psychiatric care and referral

Program Philosophy

The goals of the Family Based Mental Health Services are to:

  • Enable parents to care for their children and adolescents with a serious mental illness or emotional disturbance at home
  • Strengthen and maintain the family unit
  • Improve family coping skills
  • Improve family communication skills

Who Receives Services?

Family Based Services work with children and adolescents younger than twenty-one years of age with a serious mental illness or emotional disturbance who are at risk of psychiatric hospitalization or an out-or-home placement and their families.

Counties where WellSpan Philhaven provides Family Based Services:

  • Lancaster
  • Lebanon
  • Dauphin
  • York


Family Based Services must be recommended as most clinically appropriate for the child or adolescent by a physician or licensed psychologist.

  • Services are recommended as an alternative to out-of-home placement or used as a step-down from hospitalization or Residential Treatment, or as a result of little or no progress in a less restrictive or intrusive service.
  • There is severe functional impairment of the child or adolescent
  • Treatment in the context of the family is determined to be necessary to effectively treat the child/adolescent
  • A parent or guardian agrees to Family Based treatment
  • Behavior is assessed to be manageable in the home setting