Care and Connections for Families uses a whole-family approach to help families recover after a child experiences a mental health crisis. Our services include short-term crisis intervention and counseling services.

People Cared For

  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Adults

Level of Care

  • Community Based
  • Crisis

Payment Type

  • Free

Care and Connections for Families provides in-home counseling and support services to families whose children are experiencing a mental health crisis. Sheppard Pratt provides crisis intervention services that address the family’s immediate needs. We also help pave the way toward a long-term, stable family environment with support services.

What Is Care and Connections for Families?

Care and Connections for Families delivers in-home counseling to support families whose children are experiencing severe emotional or behavioral problems. 

These problems may include: 

  • Angry outbursts or impulsivity
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Desire to hurt someone else
  • Self-harming actions, including cutting, burning, or scratching 
  • Unexpected decline in school performance or not wanting to go to school
  • Vandalism or other illegal activity

Our efforts go beyond mental health crisis intervention. We help families learn communication techniques so they can meet their child’s ongoing needs. We also provide referrals to local support services, including food banks or counseling services, to help families maintain a sense of normalcy.

Care and Connections for Families from Sheppard Pratt 

We use a team approach that includes experienced therapists and caseworkers (in-home stabilizers). Caring for the family in their home gives us a unique perspective on the factors contributing to the crisis and the best ways to address them. 

Our services are:

Timely

When a family is in need, we begin crisis intervention within hours. Therapists and in-home stabilizers provide counseling in the family’s home up to four times per week. 

Our intensive approach quickly de-escalates a crisis and helps us address the root cause. A member of our team is available by phone 24 hours a day for families who need support between appointments.

Family-centered

Our services encompass the entire family’s emotional and practical needs, including siblings. We also help parents effectively process their feelings so that the whole family can move forward. 

We provide crisis intervention and counseling services in Spanish, Portuguese, and Amharic, making it easier for families to communicate in their preferred language.

Evidence-based

We use established techniques, dialectical behavior therapy-informed treatment, to strengthen parent-child relationships. Through DBT, family members gain change management and communication skills. These skills equip families to better support each other while working toward a peaceful resolution. 

Flexible

We work with a family’s busy schedule to meet at times that work best for them. Many families achieve good results within eight weeks. In rare cases where additional support is necessary, we are often able to continue working with the family until they achieve stability. 

Mental Health Crisis Intervention for Children and Families 

Local crisis centers and schools frequently refer clients to us. We have expertise that helps more families successfully recover from a child’s mental health crisis. 

We offer a broad range of services including: 

Crisis intervention

We speak with family members in person or by phone to de-escalate the crisis as quickly as possible. Our team members help cope with unpleasant emotions and restore a sense of calm until we can provide more comprehensive support.

Individual and family counseling services

We meet with family members individually to get to the source of the problem. In family sessions, we help everyone feel heard for productive conversations that resolve conflicts.

Parenting skills

We provide information about child development and mood management to help parents understand what their child is experiencing. We also teach communication techniques that help strengthen family bonds. 

Advocacy

We can work with schools to address children’s challenges with instruction or other children. We also help develop individualized education programs (IEPs) when needed.

Connection to community support services

We help families access resources such as reduced-cost food or clothing. When necessary, we connect families with resources that provide financial assistance for housing or utilities, such as an internet connection. 

Ongoing support

We help families maintain long-term stability by checking in 30 days after their eight-week session. Families are welcome to contact our team by phone for extra support. If families fall back into crisis, we work with local agencies to help re-establish their stability.

Accessing Care and Connections for Families

Our services are available at no cost to families of children between six and 18 years old. Families must be residents of Montgomery or Frederick County and on a Maryland Medical Assistance program, such as Medicaid or Maryland Children’s Health Insurance Program (MCHIP). Care and Connections for Families is available to families regardless of citizenship. 

Families need a referral from a local crisis center or school to access our services. 

To be assessed for the program, please contact the Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Services Crisis Center at 240-777-4000.