Child Guidance Clinic Definition
Child guidance clinics are multiservice behavioral health agencies that play a critical role in the current system as providers in DCF’s “systems of care” and as Medicaid providers. They also play a vital role in the state’s plans for the future.
They began with an idealistic mission, characteristic of Progressive reform: prevention of juvenile delinquency by identifying the first signs of trouble. Over time, however, this faded into a medical endeavor focused on treating mild behavior and emotional problems.
Definition of a Child Guidance Clinic
A child guidance clinic is a community mental health facility that offers services to children, adolescents and their families. It specializes in diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders in youngsters. It also provides therapy and educational services. Its therapy sessions are conducted in groups or individually and may be based on cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy or psychoanalysis. It also offers clinical training to pre-doctoral psychology students through a one-year, full-time APA accredited internship program and supervised practicums.
The child guidance movement started in 1922 with an idealistic mission characteristic of Progressive reform: prevention, first of juvenile delinquency, and later of mental illness by identifying the first signs of trouble. The movement established community facilities called child guidance clinics to treat so-called maladjusted children—school-aged youngsters of normal intelligence exhibiting slight behavior or emotional problems.
Today, child guidance clinics operate under the umbrella of managed behavioral health care. They receive payments from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to provide services for children in its custody as well as payments from private insurers and Medicaid to serve children outside the system. They also manage regional service networks and serve on community collaboratives.
What is a Child Guidance Clinic?
a reeducation, therapeutic treatment or study of children with emotional and behavioral problems, conducted by psychologists, teachers or other trained specialists.
Child guidance clinics were part of psychiatry’s early twentieth-century push into the community to educate the public about mental illness and identify its early signs, treat it and prevent it. By 1930, however, the movement was shifting to the internal psychological and emotional states of children as well.
Most children who come to a child guidance clinic are troubled by their behavior, such as aggressiveness, self-destructiveness and defiance. The goal of the child guidance clinician is to help these children and their families overcome the difficulties caused by these behaviors.
As multipurpose behavioral health agencies, child guidance clinics are central to DCF’s current system of care as well as its future plans for a children’s mental health system. They are also a key part of local service networks and have advised the agency in its planning process. Each region will have a regional service network council composed of participating family members and representatives from DCF, the Department of Social Services (DSS), schools, service providers and community collaboratives. Each will oversee and evaluate the quality and utilization of regional services. They will be a vital link between family-based mental health services and the community.
What is a Child Guidance Clinic for?
The child guidance movement began with the idealistic mission characteristic of Progressive reform: to prevent juvenile delinquency and mental illness by identifying and helping young children showing signs of trouble. Over time, the focus shifted from prevention to treating mild behavior and emotional problems in children. Gone was the broad local outreach linking clinics to networks of child-helping services. Instead, clinicians focused on the internal psychological and emotional states of individual children and referred them for treatment to child psychiatrists, psychologists, or psychiatric social workers.
As multipurpose behavioral health agencies, child guidance clinics provide in-home psychiatric services, emergency mobile psychiatric services, extended day treatment programs, outpatient mental health and family counseling, and other community services to children, adults and families regardless of their ability to pay. DCF pays for about one-half of these multiservice agencies’ budgets.
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