The Division of Children, Adolescents and Their Families partners with other child serving agencies to expand and enhance the system of care that is available to the children and families of South Carolina. Thus, we have formed inter-agency initiatives across the state in an on going effort to meet the needs of our shared populations, therefore, improving the quality of life for the children, adolescents and families that we are privileged to serve.
BabyNet is the state’s system of early intervention services for infant & toddlers, birth to three, who have developmental delays and disabilities. This is a federal program serving young children who are determined eligible under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). BabyNet is a collaborative effort between DHEC, DDSN, DMH, DSS and other agencies to provide an array of services for the BabyNet eligible children and their families. The mental health piece focuses on the social/emotional domain of early childhood development. Mental health services are provided in the natural environment. Services include play therapy, parent child intervention, targeted case management, etc. BabyNet Programs are available in 6 community mental health centers: Catawba Family Center, Columbia Area MHC, Charleston-Dorchester MHC, Greenville MHC, Pee-Dee MHC and Waccamaw Center for MH.
Child Mental Health/Adoption Initiative
This service exists to aid individuals and families at various stages of the adoption process. Individuals may be served during the pre-adoptive, adoptive and post adoptive phases of the adoption process. A mental health professional is out stationed in the DSS Adoption Office. The purpose of the initiative is to provide supportive services to families in an effort to increase the likelihood of adoption consummation.
Child Mental Health/Child Welfare Initiative
This service exists to provide support and assistance to children in the foster care system. The purpose of this initiative is to promote family reunification, minimize the length of time a child spends in foster care and, ultimately, reduce the number of children entering the foster care system. Mental health professionals are out stationed at local DSS offices in an effort to provide support and consultation to DSS workers regarding issues relative to foster children. Service provision is not office-based or traditional. Mental health professionals provide home and school visits. They facilitate referrals from child welfare workers to child mental health when appropriate.
Child Mental Health/DJJ Initiatives
These initiatives represent a partnership between mental health and juvenile justice. They serve to divert youth with serious mental illness and/or serious emotional disturbance from the criminal justice system and to ensure that children and adolescents who have already penetrated the system have access to appropriate care and services.
DMH serves children and adolescents at all levels of the juvenile justice spectrum including youth on probation, parole and those committed to the DJJ institutions. Mental health professionals are out stationed in county DJJ offices in several catchment areas. Diversion programs targeting status offenders are available at eight (8) CMHCs. These early intervention programs strive to keep youth in home, in school and out of trouble (DJJ). Additionally, the department partners with DJJ to provide intensive family services using the Multi-Systemic Therapy Model at six (6) CMHCs.
DMH provides services to seriously mentally ill youth committed to DJJ. A federal class action law suit was filed against DJJ. The lawsuit resulted in the formation of a subclass of youth classified as seriously mentally ill. The court found that these youth, though committed to DJJ, must be transferred to the agency best qualified to treat them, DMH. These youth are transferred to DMH for placement in a therapeutic setting. However, they remain committed to DJJ and are under the jurisdiction of the SC Board of Juvenile Parole.
DJJ and DSS Family Preservation/Multi-Systemic Therapy Initiatives
These programs work closely with DJJ and DSS to prevent the removal of children from the home and to stabilize and strengthen the child/family's functioning and adjustment. Family preservation is an important clinical intervention that is often used to reunite children with their families.
Shared Purchase of Residential Treatment Services
This service is primarily a fiscal vehicle through which the Department of Mental Health secures proportionate funding from all agencies having some programmatic responsibility for the child being served (i.e., the child is eligible for the services of multiple state agencies). Upon making a determination that a child has multiple needs that require the services of other child-serving agencies, a staffing is convened by the "lead agency" for the purposes of developing a comprehensive and coordinated treatment plan, and determining each agency's proportionate share of the costs. In the case of children in DSS custody, agencies contribute annually to a legislatively-mandated pooled services fund, which can then be accessed to pay service costs for eligible consumers.
Interagency System of Care for Emotionally Disturbed Children (ISCEDC)
The purpose of this program is to establish a pooled services fund, and prescribe an interagency service planning process for addressing the needs of emotionally-disturbed children in DSS custody. ISCEDC is a legislatively-mandated program aimed at placing the decision-making responsibility and funding authority for therapeutic residential placements at the local level. County-based Interagency Staffing Teams (IST), which include a representative from DMH, review clinical information to determine ISCEDC eligibility and the initial level of therapeutic care that is needed. Interagency Staffing Teams (IST) have been established in each county. They include, at a minimum, DSS/Managed Treatment Services, DSS/Regular Foster Care and DMH. Other agencies such as COC, DJJ, school districts, local drug abuse and alcohol (DAODAS), and DDSN would participate if they are involved or are expected to become involved with the child.
A child may be referred for an ISCEDC staffing if he/she is either at-risk or in need a therapeutic residential placement. The goals of the ISCEDC program are to ensure that children are placed in therapeutic residential placement only when necessary, and to ensure that such placement is the least restrictive, most appropriate level of care for addressing their treatment needs. Services paid from this fund include therapeutic placement services and wraparound.
Specialized Residential Programs for Under-served Populations of Youth
DMH partners with public and private agencies to meet the needs of severely emotionally disturbed children and adolescents whose needs are too complex to be met by the State's current service delivery system. DMH partnered with the Governor's Office, Office of Children's Affairs to provide start up funding for the development of high management rehabilitative services for deaf and emotionally disturbed youth. This program is operated by the Center for Change. DMH also partnered with the Governor's Office of Children's Affairs, Department of Disabilities and Special Needs and the Department Social Services/ Division of Managed Treatment Services in the development of New Pathways, a high management rehabilitative services for dually diagnosed severely emotionally disturbed youth. New Pathways is located in House 5 on DMH grounds and is operated by Mentor, Inc.