WHAT IS FAMILY BASED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES (FBMHS)?
Family Based Mental Health Services (FBMHS) is an Evidence Based Practice model designed to service children between 3 and 17 years of age and their families (parents, guardians, caretakers and siblings). These
children have a serious mental illness or emotional disturbance, are at risk for out-of-home placement into residential treatment facilities, psychiatric hospitals or other settings. The focus of treatment is on the
child and family system. Family Based Mental Health Services treat these children and adolescents in their homes, communities and schools thus allowing the youth to remain in the home. Services are available 24
hours per day and 7 days a week via on call therapist and include crisis intervention as a part of the service.
How Family Based Mental Health Services Work:
On a highly individualized basis, treatment goals and interventions are developed in collaboration with the
family, and family strengths are used to promote therapeutic change. Clinicians facilitate and support change,
by coaching family members in individual, parent(s)-child, parental, marital, or family sessions to engage in
growth producing interactions with each other and with community resources.
Can Family-Based Mental Health Services:
• Decrease the use of more restrictive forms of mental health care of children?
• Shorten the length of out-of-home placements of children with SED in psychiatric in-patient settings?
• Help to insure that such placements are planned?
• Prevent out-of-home placement of children in other child-serving systems, including child welfare,
juvenile justice and substance abuse treatment?
Is improvement in family functioning associated with:
• Improvement in functioning of a child with SED?
• Better post-treatment outcomes for a child with SED?
Is there a relationship between pre-treatment service system involvement of families and:
• Changes in family functioning during treatment?
• Post-treatment outcomes for children with SED?
FBMHS were developed to serve children at risk for out-of-home placement due to psychiatric diagnoses
indicating severe emotional or behavioral disturbances (SED). They also target children and adolescents who
need to be reunified with their biological or substitute care families following discharge from inpatient
hospitals or psychiatric residential placements. Overall program goals include not only preventing out-of-
home placement of children in residential treatment facilities but also reducing the number of crises-driven
emergency room visits for mental health problems and increasing intentional planning for psychiatric
hospitalizations that do occur. Since their inception in 1988, the continuing development of FBMHS has been
encouraged by public and private managed care as a clinically effective, preferred alternative to
Inpatient hospitalization or psychiatric residential placement.