CONCORD – With the New Hampshire Executive Council’s approval of contracts to expand behavioral health residential treatment, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) achieved a critical milestone in the advancement of a comprehensive system of care for children with behavioral health needs.
On July 14, Governor Chris Sununu and the Executive Council approved contracts with nine organizations to provide behavioral health services in residential treatment settings to children, youth and young adults whose behavioral health needs cannot be met safely in the community without intensive supports. Expanding the system of care to include intensive residential treatment services throughout the State advances the goal of ensuring better long-term outcomes for youth.
“This represents another step in our work to rebuild New Hampshire’s mental health system, and to ensure Granite Staters, especially children and youth, have access to appropriate behavioral health services within our State,” said Governor Sununu. “DHHS continues to advance these critical services by breaking down silos and building a comprehensive, integrated, and evidence based system that works for our children and families.”
“Residential treatment services vitally help children and young adults with severe emotional disturbances,” said Erica Ungarelli, Director of the DHHS Bureau for Children’s Behavioral Health. “Children and youth have unique mental and behavioral health needs, and a comprehensive system of care is being established to ensure these needs are met. The expansion of residential treatment for children and youth is a critical step in the establishment of the system of care.”
“The Department and our community partners have worked tirelessly and comprehensively to implement the system of care to serve children with behavioral health needs,” said Katja Fox, Director of the DHHS Division for Behavioral Health Services. “The expansion of residential treatment services, in conjunction with recently approved contracts for independent assessment of each child’s appropriate level of residential care, mobile crisis rapid access points and rapid response teams across the State, advances these efforts, as well as our progress toward implementation of the State’s Ten-Year Mental Health Plan. The landscape is changed today, and for the betterment of every child and young adult in New Hampshire in need of specialized services.”
“Children whose severe mental health needs are not adequately addressed in the community have too often ended up involved with DCYF,” said Joe Ribsam, Director of the DHHS Division for Children, Youth and Families. “By making residential treatment services more widely available and accessible based on children and youth’s mental health needs, coupled with recently approved contracts to expand mobile crisis and wraparound support for families, our goal is to provide children, youth and families with the help they need before there is a need to engage with the State’s child protection and juvenile justice systems. These new services also ensure that New Hampshire’s residential services are enhanced to align with the federal Family First Prevention Services Act.”
The contracts approved by the Executive Council will transform the children’s residential system by expanding clinical services, ensuring each provider has a trauma model through which services are delivered, establishing programming that targets special treatment needs, and creating partnerships with community providers to determine when residential treatment is clinically appropriate. Additional contracts with remaining residential treatment providers will be submitted for the Governor and Council’s consideration in the coming weeks.
For more information on the new contracts, please see https://sos.nh.gov/media/evomsm0q/14-gc-agenda-071421.pdf. For information on the State’s Ten-Year Mental Health Plan, please visit https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bbh/10-year-mh-plan.htm.