Skip to Main Content

Child Mental Health

Polk County Child Mental Health serves children and teens ages 0-18. We have an array of mental health professionals who have advanced education and training in counseling and various specialties. Our approach matches the best practices developed by research and national experts. We focus on helping children, teens and parents improve skills, health and well being.

What We Offer

We meet with children and parents to determine the best interventions in treatment for the individual child and your family. You create your child’s plan for treatment with the therapist, which includes the services that best fit your needs. This may include individual and family therapy, group therapy for your child or parenting education groups. Most treatment is brief and ends when your goals are met.

When You Arrive

Parents or legal guardians, as well as youth ages 14 or older, can begin services by walking into our office and asking to begin services. Our staff will help you complete a brief set of forms about your reason for seeking services, your consent for treatment and a financial agreement. If your child is insured by the Oregon Health Plan (OHP or Medicaid), there is no cost to you.   

What to Expect When You Request Services  

Children’s mental health services begin with a comprehensive assessment with your child and you, the parents, meeting with one of our highly qualified therapists. Each appointment takes about an hour and the therapist begins with gathering information, learning more about your child and developing a clear picture of your concerns. The second appointment reviews the assessment that was created from your first appointment. You will work with your child and the therapist to make a treatment plan with goals and a plan of how to reach those goals. Ongoing appointments may be weekly or every other week and taper to monthly while practicing new skills at home.  

Treatment Philosophy

Polk County Child Mental Health offers the highest quality of mental health services for children, youth and parents. Our staff functions under the State of Oregon licensing requirements for clinical services as well as under the Federal requirements for Medicaid. We are trained and have ongoing supervision with research-based, best practices “Evidence Based Practices”, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Collaborative Problem Solving, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Medication Management. 

Medication Evaluation and Management

Some youth struggle with extreme behaviors, anxiety or depression that don’t improve adequately with counseling alone. If your child is too overwhelmed with challenges to be able to learn how to function and feel better, we may suggest an evaluation by our Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Medications may help a child through a particularly difficult time until other skills are mastered, then sometimes medications can be discontinued. We will also work collaboratively with your child’s physician to coordinate care and to monitor any health concerns and medications your physician may have prescribed.

Beyond Outpatient Services -- Intensive Treatment Services

When efforts with individual and family counseling haven’t been enough to safely address more complex and severe problems, parents may request intensive treatment services. These services, called New Solutions, are based on these principles of Wraparound:

  • Family Voice & Choice
  • Collaboration
  • Community Based
  • Culturally Competent
  • Individualized
  • Persistence
  • Outcome Based
  • Team Approach
  • Family & Natural Supports
  • Strengths & Needs Based

New Solutions begins with meeting with the child and family to learn about strengths, needs, and culture. A Team is identified by the family for support and assistance and could include other family, friends, neighbors, school staff, church members, coaches or others. The team will develop a Safety Crisis Plan. The team will also look at additional supports and professional services as necessary. These services may be available when clinical criteria is met and could include active case management and skills training in the home or school. When a child’s high risk behavior cannot be stabilized, brief psychiatric day treatment, brief psychiatric residential or acute hospitalization may be considered. Each service is carefully considered by the team and offered only with the permission of the parents.

This Intensive Treatment continues as long as needed, from several months to a year or more. The Child and Family Team works to support the child and family goals and eventually continues on its own to support the family without professionals. 

Fees or Costs of Service

There are no fees for services for children insured with Oregon Health Plan (also called “OHP” or “Medicaid”). Other financial arrangements may be made with our staff if your child is covered by other insurance. If your child is not insured, a sliding scale fee is also available.