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Children’s Behavioral Health Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the inquiries we hear most often. Want to know more? Just contact us and we'll be glad to speak with you.

Why does my child misbehave? Why does my child hit? Why does my child yell?

You are not alone. All kids misbehave, hit, and yell – even those without a diagnosable condition. Children’s Behavioral Health Services help children and adolescents who need extra support due to depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, behavioral diagnoses, substance use issues, and more. Our programs address these issues by helping youth and their families learn new ways to communicate their needs, de-escalate frustration or stress, and understand acceptable, healthy, and safe behavior.

How do I get help in my home?

If your child is 3-20 years old, has MassHealth managed by Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, Tufts Network Health, or Beacon Health Options (Fallon, Neighborhood Health Plan, and Boston Medical Center Healthnet), please contact us to discuss criteria for receiving in-home services. If your child is not enrolled in MassHealth but has a qualifying diagnosis, we can guide you through the application process.

Does my child need a diagnosis to get this service?

Yes, but if you are interested in receiving our services, it is likely that your child already has a qualifying diagnosis identified by a pediatrician, school counselor, individual therapist, or another professional who has recommended In-Home Therapy, In-Home Behavioral Services, or Therapeutic Mentoring. If not, it's best to contact your child's pediatrician to get a diagnosis. In some cases, we are able to provide a preliminary diagnosis to facilitate access. Feel free to contact us for further explanation.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

ABA is an intensive modeling and education program. Skills are taught by breaking them down into their simplest elements then repeating the steps over and over. These trials consist of presenting steps to a child with a stimulus (like "do this" or "touch object" or "look at me"). Correct responses and behaviors are rewarded with enthusiastic positive reinforcement. When incorrect responses or undesirable behaviors occur, they are ignored.

What is the difference between Applied Behavior Analysis and In-Home Behavioral Services?

In-Home Behavioral Services (IHBS) are based on the ABA approach, but include additional models and techniques such as Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS), Social Thinking, and Positive Behavior Supports. IHBS is a broader model that is offered only through MassHealth whereas ABA is covered by MassHealth and some private insurance.

What is In-Home Therapy?

In-Home Therapy (IHT) is comprehensive therapy and wrap-around support provided in the most comfortable setting for the family, such as their home or school. IHT clinical teams work with the youth and the family to create and implement a treatment plan, connect the family with community resources, develop new parenting skills, establish helpful routines, resolve challenging behaviors, and improve family relationships.

What is the difference between In-Home Therapy and outpatient therapy?

Outpatient therapy typically involves a weekly one-hour office visit. In-Home Therapy (IHT) happens in a family's own environment for multiple hours per week. Parents and siblings are always involved and typically attend every appointment. Because therapy is provided in the family home, the clinician is able to observe and understand dynamics that may not be evident in an office visit. Working with families in their own homes two or more hours per week, IHT clinicians can help them practice new strategies and reinforce improvements in ways that a weekly office visit cannot support. The intensity and comprehensiveness of IHT make it a good fit for children and adolescents who have serious symptoms that need to be addressed as swiftly as possible.

What is Therapeutic Mentoring?

Therapeutic Mentoring is a one-on-one service involving a young adult mentor and a youth with social/emotional issues. The mentor teaches the youth social, communication, and life skills through fun and casual activities such as exercise, games, and volunteering. The mentor pursues specific therapeutic goals as written in the treatment plan developed by an outpatient therapist, In-Home Therapy provider, or an Intensive Care Coordination (ICC) team. Therapeutic Mentors meet with clients in many settings including their home, school, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and other community locations.

What insurance do you accept?

We accept MassHealth with Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) or Tufts Network Health as the managed care option on the North Shore, in Central MA, and Greater Boston. In Central MA we also accept Beacon, MBHP, and Tufts Network Health.

How long before services start for my child?

After a referral is made and a safety assessment phone call is completed by our intake coordinator, the case is immediately assigned (provided there is not a wait list) to a JF&CS clinician. For In-Home Therapy, we will contact the family the day the case is assigned and offer an appointment the next day. If the family cannot meet with the clinician the next day, we will schedule a first appointment within 14 calendar days. For In-Home Behavioral Services and Therapeutic Mentoring, we will contact the family within five calendar days and schedule an initial visit within 14 calendar days. At the initial visit, the parent and the clinician will decide on a weekly schedule moving forward.

If we have a waiting list, we will let you know at the time of the referral. We can also suggest other providers and will check with you regularly to see if you would like to remain on our wait list.

My entire family is at our breaking point - we need help, too! Will this service help all family members?

Yes! JF&CS Children’s Behavioral Health Services aim to strengthen the entire family. Outcomes usually show a happier home life, not only for the child being treated but also for parents and siblings. Better communication, less disruptive behavior, more positive interactions, and connections to community resources benefit the entire family.

For more information, please fill out our inquiry form. A JF&CS staff person will be in touch soon. You can also contact the Intake Coordinator at 978-741-7878.

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781-647-JFCS (5327)
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1430 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02451

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