Residential Treatment Services and Wraparound services

Jerri-this takes so much time to rewrite for each individual that I respond too, can you keep it stored somewhere? It might be an idea to have one for each state as I know the laws due vary.

How to get Residential Treatment Services and Wraparound services in the State of CA:

Residential services in the State of Ca are covered jointly between the school district of residence and by the State, via the Local County Health Department.

1. There must first be an active IEP, if not request an immediate assessment and emergency IEP. In the request letter use strong language stating the needs of the child, roughly what the needs of the child are, and clearly that the child is a danger to himself, to others, and to the staff. This letter is to be sent to the school of residence and the director of the Special Education Department for the School District.

What should be included in the assessment...
A. Complete psychosocial evaluation
B. Complete cognitive testing
C. Behavioral analysis if still currently in a school setting.
D. Occupational Therapy Evaluation with a Neuosensory Integration Certified Therapist.
Request this even if your child does not have an obvious physical disability. Almost every child with a conduct disorder and/or emotional disorder will have sensorymotor defensiveness that interferes in learning.
E. Vocational aptitude and assessment if child is 14; can request at 14 does not become a mandatory part of IEP until age 16.
F. Health assessment; this includes developmental assessment which can substantiate prenatal and/or birth trauma, etc.
G. Communication assessment; this is to measure the students ability to understand, relate and to use language, this is oral and non-oral communication.
H. The PARENT REPORT should be prepared for submission and the outline is under Jerri's corner. This information will be a critical part of justifying services for your child and is even more critical than all the other assessments. This is your chance to have your voice heard for your child's needs.

Things to remember:

1. If there is something in the assessments that you disagree with you do not have to accept that information into his record. Now this does not mean you do not like what you hear, but that the information is incorrect or not as complete as it should be. For example they only spent two hours with your child at school and not in the home environment during assessment. This is especially important if your child does not perform on cue for strangers. The next thing to do is to require an outside assessment be done by another agency.

2. A school district will usually not go directly to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement unless the behaviors are severe; like difficult child has given you a battle plan on how he will be the next serial killer. This means an interim placement may be requested in a non-public school geared to SED kids. If this placement fails then they will go to next step of Residential Treatment Center (RTC). SED categories or "How our kids Qualify," is under Jerri's category.

3. If your child is place in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), by a school district, they must cover transportation costs for the child and parent to and from the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), hotel, and sometimes food. If the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is relatively close to you they will reimburse you based on mileage on a monthly basis. If the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is further away they will pay for airfare on a quarterly basis. Phone call costs are usually born by the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), this includes phone calls that cover therapy with child by conference phone.


At the same time you are initiating the IEP assessment and process you need to begin another application process. This process will be with your local County Mental Health Department. This is mandatory in the state of CA to get 100% coverage for Residential Treatment Center (RTC). You call county mental health and request application for 26.5 Funding. Sometimes this is also classified under AB3632 funding. Originally 26.5 was just for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and then AB 3632 was for wrap around services. They now will sometimes lump the two together. This is a State of CA law that was passed to cover mental health care services for juveniles (under 18). The foundation of this law was that it was cost effective to support any and all services in the home to prevent children with SED disturbances from entering the juvenile court system and/or ending up in Residential Treatment Center (RTC). In other words, it was cheaper to pay for in home services than shelling out $10,000 a month for Residential Treatment Center (RTC). In addition this law states that if in home services fail then Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement is financed. The State of CA and County Mental Health are responsible for any psychiatric services associated with Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and the costs of room and board.

The application process begins with County Mental Health and unfortunately there is not universal terminology amongst the counties for what this program is called. The key is to mention 26.5 funding and to ask to speak to a Mental Health Case Manager. Initially they may say your child does not qualify if he does not have a Medical card. This is not true and you will need to speak to a supervisor if this problem arises. Your child will qualify regardless under what is known as "realignment." The closest I ever could get on this definition was that if they know your kids behaviors were severe enough that he would end up in the system anyway, than they would cover the child. Very vague here-sorry. The key is to be persistent.

It is possible to access mental health services prior to 26.5 Funding approval, but impossible to get Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement without approval.

What services are available through 26.5 Funding...

In other states this is known by wraparound services. In CA it is known under many different program names depending on the county. For example in Sacramento, it is known as "The Whatever It Takes Progam." These services are subcontracted out to independent agencies to provide services. In Sacramento County we have two different services providers. In small counties they may have none so your fight will be harder. They still are required by State Law to provide the services.

The service plan is created by the agency and the parent to meet the needs of the child. You tell them what you need.

1. Psyciatric services and medication case management.
2. Individual therapy for your child, for either or both parents, and another sibling who might be the focal victum of your difficult child. They also can provide family therapy, peer group therapy, support groups for the siblings, and the parents.
3. A Behaviorist to come in and observe difficult child at home. The behaviorist will help identify the reasons behind the child acting out and give concrete goals and methods with dealing with in home problems.
4. Visits with difficult child in the home by counselars who are trained to help child identify emotions, social skills, and anger management. They are not licensed personnel but are often working toward their therapist degrees. The frequency of visits is determined by child and family needs. For example, when are services initially started my son was attempting suicide about every 48 hours requiring hospitalization. My request was for a counselor to come on a daily basis Sunday thru Saterday for two hours. Then we gradually reduced visits to two hours three times weekly as he improved.
5. A family support person not directly responsible for reporting back to the agency. In the agency we used, this was another parent who was non-licensed, that could listen to "The Kid does not Deserve To Live," speech without being legally responsible for reporting the parent. This is your shoulder to cry on.
6. An independent social worker who is the paperwork manager and makes sure the services are meeting the families needs.
7. Respite care, this was more difficult to get. One it is not yet widely recognized that parents need respite from SED kids,
Although the state does provide these services for physically/mentally disabled kids. I believe for a younger child with a strong enough fight, that respite services could be provided.
8. A RN to teach family and child about mental health diagnosis and to perform inservices for the school district.

All of the above services are performed within your home but you can also request that the same professionals go into the school. This is helpful for continuity of interventions, for observation of the child accross environments, and an extra set of eyes to see the child in the classroom environment. This becomes helpful when you need justification that classroom interventions are not being followed through with or are ineffectual.

Once these services are in place and if they are not effective in helping the child be safe in the home and school environment, then County Mental Health will process for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement. When this time for my son came I called on a daily basis, I provided lists of potential facilities, and asked for status on packets submitted. The squeeky wheel with honey talk gets the job done.

There are also Fair Hearing Appeal processes for the 26.5 Funding if services denied.

Looking for additional advocates...

1. Within each geographic area of the state is an Agency known as the Area Board. In Sacramento ours is known as the Area Board III. The area boards are the watchdog agencies that ensure that funds from the state of CA are appropriate utilized by the school districts, the regional centers (agencies that deal with the developmental disabled), and county mental health services. If you ever have problems in any of these arenas you can call and make an appointment with them, present your childs case, what services you want and are not getting, and they will advocate at any meetings with you. They often have an attorney on staff. These people have alot of clout and just inviting them to an IEP can change the whole atmosphere. You can find out who, what,and where about your local area board agency from the main special education office of your school district.

2. In the State of California there is an agency known as "Protection and Advocacy." The telephone number in Sacramento is 916-488-9950 and I believe there is also a 1-800-number that you could obtain through information. This agency can help problem solve and file legal proceedings needed to get services. They are no cost.

3. If you ever need to file a Due Process Complaint you are told to contact The St. George School of Law in Sacramento, CA. When they send the initial paperwork they will send a list of attornies available on a fee for service sliding scale basis.

Hopefully this will answer your questions in regards to achieving Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement for your child. If you have further questions please contact me.

Alias NotMe

Hi Aliasnotme,
by the way on the back of the IEP form in our SD under "services" paid for by SELPA ( Special Education Local Plan Area)funds the words RESPITE CARE SERVICES was the last listed. I also live in CA and am in the CMH process with both kids not severe enough for Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Our whole family is going to get therapy and parental support group and respite .



Thank you so much for doing this... very very helpful!

Hugs N love!!!


Founder: PRIE Parents Rights In Education

5 kids, 21 yo difficult child Rich, 20 yo easy child Joe, 19 yo difficult child Billy, 14 yo easy child Stacie, 11 yo difficult child Matt.
Perfect husband Tom!:)

"sometimes all thats left to honor the bond is tears"

Full time volunteer advocate: " A voice and a pen for the bad kid"

Jerri McCarthy