If you have some concerns for your child’s mood, behavior, and functioning:

  • Speak with your child’s pediatrician and/or school social worker for possible referrals. Doctors and social workers will likely be well connected in the community and may know of clinicians who specialize in whatever issue your child is facing.
  • Contact your insurance carrier, whether its Medicaid HMO or private insurance, to see who in your area is covered by your plan. Please note that the Medicaid HMO’s only cover 20 visits per year. This includes both appointments for psychiatric medication and psychotherapy, though they likely will be from different providers. They also do not cover services such as case management and home based services.

If you feel that your child needs more intensive services (beyond 20 visits/year):

  • Contact Pioneer at 866-690-8257 to see if your child is eligible for Community Mental Health (CMH) services. As a parent, you can call them directly if your child is age 7 or above and not in foster care. If your child is age 6 or under, or in foster care, you should contact the CMH provider directly to schedule an intake assessment. Eligibility for services will be determined by the CMH provider, during that initial appointment.
  • Pioneer will conduct a phone screening/assessment with you, the parent or guardian. It usually takes about 45 minutes.
  • If the child is eligible, Pioneer will schedule them an intake appointment at their chosen CMH provider.

At the intake appointment:

  • When you and your child show up for the initial assessment, either at a CMH agency or a private practice, you will likely need to present proof of insurance, photo ID, and proof of guardianship/custody. This can be a birth certificate or a custody agreement, if you are divorced.
  • You and/or your child will likely be asked to complete some paperwork prior to meeting with the clinician.
  • Once all the paperwork is complete, the intake assessment will take place. Be prepared to answer questions about the child’s developmental history, physical health, school performance, specific behavioral/emotional symptoms, family history (including mental illness and substance abuse), history of trauma, substance abuse, etc.
  • At the end of the interview, the clinician should be able to make recommendations for continued treatment, and to provide more information about additional services that your child qualifies for.

Special thanks to Dr. Beth Rutkowski for pulling this info together.