1. Find Behavioral Health Services and Supports
Connecting Children & Families to Behavioral Health Services: No Wrong Door to Find Help
This page offers a range of children’s behavioral health treatment options, services, supports, advocacy resources, and specific guidance for families, providers, and school personnel in Connecticut.
Our goal is to have no wrong door for children, youth, and families to find behavioral health services and treatment in Connecticut, regardless of whether they first seek help at school, their pediatrician’s office, or through a helpline like 2-1-1.
Need Help Now? If you or your child are experiencing a mental/behavioral health crisis and/or thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please call or text 988 (National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline) or 211 (crisis support in Connecticut). For life-threatening emergencies, call 911.
The resource lists on this page are provided for convenience only and are not intended to be exhaustive. The developers of this toolkit do not endorse any specific organization or service. While we make every effort to keep this page current, we encourage you to verify details and service availability directly with each organization.
Directory of Treatment and Services in Connecticut
Find information about treatment, services, and other child and family behavioral health supports in Connecticut.
Get Guidance Finding Services for Children, Youth, and Families
Not sure where to start? These resources, tools, and organizations can help connect children, youth, and families to local behavioral health care:
A free, confidential information and referral service that helps individuals and families access essential health and human services, including behavioral health supports, crisis help, substance use care, and more. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, online and over the phone. Visit www.211ct.org or call 2-1-1 to be connected with a trained referral specialist.
The Assisted Intervention Matching (AIM) Tool by Connecting to Care is an interactive platform that guides families and providers through a series of questions to find the best-matched mental/behavioral health service to meet a child’s/family’s needs. The tool was developed collaboratively by Department of Children and Families (DCF), Wheeler Clinic, Carelon Behavioral Health, and UConn Healthcare staff, with content expert and family advocate input.
Youth Service Bureaus
Youth Service Bureau (YSB) staff are knowledgeable about local community resources and can be the first call to help link children, adolescents, and families to services. YSBs are located in almost every town in Connecticut. Beyond providing assistance to families and providers in identifying mental/behavioral health resources, YSBs also offer a wide range of services and programs, all aimed at fostering the positive development of youth. Find your local YSB here.
Screening Connecticut’s Youth
The Screening Connecticut’s Youth (SCY) Program aids in the early detection of mental and behavioral health issues, as well as trauma responses, among children and adolescents across the state. When treatment needs are identified, the program helps families find and link to local behavioral health services. Community Health Workers conduct brief screenings in person, over the phone, or virtually and assist in removing barriers to accessing care. The SCY Program is completely free and open to CT children and youth ages 4 to 17. Referrals welcome from families, providers, and agencies. Find the SCY referral form online or call 800-505-9000.
Network of Care Managers, Carelon Behavioral Health
Crisis Resources for Children, Youth, and Families
When children and adolescents are experiencing behavioral or mental health crises, Connecticut’s Mobile Crisis Intervention Services for youth can provide immediate assistance.
Mobile Crisis is a statewide, community-based and family-supportive clinical intervention service for children and adolescents in crisis. Mobile crisis teams can come to a child’s home, school, or community location to provide emergency crisis stabilization for children and their families as well as short-term follow-up care and linkage to other services.
Reach Mobile Crisis for children and youth (under age 18) by calling 2-1-1 and pressing “1” and “1” again. Trained counselors answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide guidance and help secure assistance.
For adults in emotional distress and/or substance use crisis, call 211 OR 1-800-467-3135 (a dedicated line established by the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and United Way of CT).
Urgent Crisis Centers in Connecticut
Walk-in Urgent Crisis Centers (UCCs) are available to children and youth ages 18 and under who are experiencing behavioral health crises but do not require an emergency department level of care. UCCs are strategically located around the state in Hartford, New Haven, New London, and Waterbury, and are open to all CT residents. Trained staff will de-escalate the crisis, complete an evaluation, and connect youth and families to follow-up services.
988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
The National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline connects callers to local, free, confidential help and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Anyone, of any age, in suicidal crisis or emotional distress can call or text 9-8-8 to receive help in English or Spanish. Confidential online chat, as well as services in American Sign Language, are available on the 988 website.
Crisis Text Line
For immediate support via text, text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, 24/7/365. The Crisis Text Line is appropriate for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds from a secure online platform to help move people from “a hot moment to a cool moment.”
Outpatient Behavioral Health Treatment for Children & Families
In addition to the resources listed above under “Get Guidance Finding Services for Children, Youth, and Families,” the following resources can help parents/caregivers and providers locate outpatient services in their community:
Supports and Services Resource Lists for Every Region of CT
The Connecting to Care website lists a wide array of mental and behavioral health resources and services in your local community. Choose your city/town to get a resource list for your region. Regions include Southwest, South Central, Eastern, North Central, West, and Central.
Directory of Evidence-Based Practices and Treatments for Children in CT
This online directory helps locate Connecticut providers offering selected evidence-based behavioral health and trauma treatments for children and families. (Evidence-based practices, or EBPs, are those supported by research demonstrating that they work for most children.)
Services and Supports for Families with Infants & Young Children
Help Me Grow
Help Me Grow is a free statewide program that serves children (birth through age 8) and their families starting from pregnancy. One of its roles is to connect children and their families to community services and resources related to child health, behavior, development, and learning. Help Me Grow assists pregnant women, parents, caregivers, social service agencies, child health providers, as well as early care and education providers.
Contact Help Me Grow through the Child Development Infoline (CDI) at (800) 505-7000.
Home Visiting Programs
Home Visiting Programs aim to improve the health of young children by providing support and services for them and their families, right in their own homes. These programs reach pregnant women, expectant fathers, and parents/ caregivers of children under the age of 5.
Postpartum Support International – Connecticut Chapter
The Postpartum Support International – Connecticut Chapter (PSI-CT) promotes awareness, prevention, and treatment of perinatal mental health challenges for the well-being of families throughout Connecticut. They offer helplines and resources, including information about local providers and support groups.
To learn more, call 1-800-944-4773 (#1 En Español, #2 English); text “HELP” to 800-944-4773 (English), text en Español: 971-203-7773, or visit the PSI CT website:
Sparkler is a mobile app offered by the CT Office of Early Childhood that helps parents/caregivers check how their child is doing against key developmental milestones and provides fun do-together activities to spark early learning.
Early Psychosis Resources
The Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis (STEP) Program
STEP is a collaborative program of the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and Yale University Department of Psychiatry, operating out of the CT Mental Health Center in New Haven.
STEP serves individuals who have experienced the onset of psychosis in the prior 3 years and reside within a 10-town catchment surrounding New Haven. An interprofessional team implements a comprehensive care pathway that includes early detection, structured and longitudinal assessment, coordinated specialty care, and transition to usual community-based care. STEP works with individuals and their families to develop and implement a personalized recovery plan.
PRIME Psychosis Prodrome Research Clinic
This clinic is designed for youth ages 12 to 25 who are experiencing worrisome changes in their thoughts, experiences, and/or feelings. The PRIME Research Clinic at Yale aims to reduce early symptoms of serious mental illness. Participants focus on identifying, monitoring, and managing their concerning symptoms. Services include clinical evaluations and assessment, supportive counseling, clinical treatment with medication (if eligible), and collaboration with community providers and schools.
Advanced Services for Adolescents with Psychosis (ASAP)
ASAP is a program at the Institute of Living offering specialized treatment for adolescents ages 13 to 18 in the early stages of psychotic illness. ASAP provides a setting where youth can get the support needed to return to the activities that they enjoy.
Services include evidence-based assessment, cognitive remediation, group, individual, and family therapy, medication management, educational support, support and education for family members, and community trips to help with rehabilitation. Transportation to the program is provided for those living in Hartford.
Additional Early Psychosis Resources
Youth Substance Use Intervention Services
This page includes a comprehensive list of substance use evaluation and treatment programs, services, and educational resources in Connecticut that serve children, youth, and adults. The page is maintained by the CT Department of Children and Families (DCF) but includes many independent private nonprofit service providers in addition to DCF-run programs.
School-Based Services and Supports
School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs)
SBHCs offer conveniently located health services, including behavioral health, to children and youth in various communities across the state. SBHCs are located on school grounds and can serve students in grades pre-K -12. Multidisciplinary teams of pediatric and adolescent health specialists staff the centers, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, physicians, and in some cases, dentists and dental hygienists.
Trauma Treatment: CBITS and Bounce Back
Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) is a school-based group intervention for grades 5-12 that has been shown to reduce PTSD, depression symptoms, and psychosocial dysfunction in children who have experienced trauma. Bounce Back is an adaptation of the CBITS model for elementary school students (grades K-5).
Care Coordination Services
When families have a variety of needs that are best addressed by multiple providers, a care coordination service is useful in ensuring comprehensive linkage to services and team-based care planning. The family is central to all decision-making, and communication and collaboration across all providers is an essential part of the process.
WrapCT Care Coordination
The WrapCT Care Coordination program helps families meet their self-identified needs through the use of a process called “Wraparound.” The Wraparound process is designed to surround a family with helpful services that are culturally competent, strengths-based, and organized around the family members’ own perceptions of their needs, goals, and vision.
Wraparound facilitators, called Care Coordinators, help families build care teams of both informal and professional supports. Referrals to WrapCT Care Coordination can come from either providers or families.
CT Medical Home Initiative for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs
In a medical home, the health care provider works in partnership with children, youth, and their families to make sure that all medical and related needs, including mental/behavioral health needs, are met. Through this partnership, providers help families access coordinated specialized care, educational services, in- and out-of-home care, family support, and other public and private services that are important for the overall health of the whole family.
CT Behavioral Health Partnership Care Coordination Programs (including Autism Spectrum Disorder Services & Behavioral Health Peer Support)
For information about additional care coordination programs, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) services and Carelon Behavioral Health Peers, please visit the CT Behavioral Health Partnership (CTBHP) website or call 877-552-8247. Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, please dial 711 Relay Services.
Guidance, Information, Advocacy and Support for Families
Questions for Families to Ask When Starting Care
For guidance on what to ask providers when starting treatment and answers to frequently asked questions from parents about their child’s mental health, visit the FAQs page of KidsMentalHealthInfo.com.
How to Talk to Children and Adolescents About Starting Therapy
For suggestions about talking with children and youth about starting therapy and/or medication, read this article from the Child Mind Institute.
Useful Information About Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health for Parents and Caregivers
KidsMentalHealthInfo.com, maintained by the nonprofit Child Health and Development Institute, provides local, state, and national resources for parents and caregivers in Connecticut on topics related to children’s mental health and emotional well-being, from infancy through adolescence. Also includes information on behavioral health and family support services available in Connecticut.
ChildMind.org offers reliable and up-to-date information, resources, and guidance on children’s behavioral health and development. Find articles, videos, expert insights, and tools designed for parents/caregivers, educators, and healthcare professionals who want to better understand, support, and advocate for children facing behavioral health and learning challenges.
ADDitude Magazine and its website, AdditudeMag.com, provides information, resources, and support for individuals and families coping with the challenges of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related conditions. Find articles, webinars, expert advice, strategies, personal stories, and practical tips to help those with ADHD and their parents/caregivers, educators, and healthcare providers better understand and manage the condition.
Partnership to End Addiction
The Partnership to End Addiction at DrugFree.org presents tips and resources for parents and caregivers on preventing substance use as well as guidance for helping to manage recovery from addiction.
HealthyChildren.org (American Academy of Pediatrics)
HealthyChildren.org is a trusted source of information on children’s health and parenting advanced by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Find a wide range of articles, resources, and guidelines for parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, covering various aspects of child and adolescent development, health, safety, and well-being.
InfoAboutKids.org, a project of the Consortium for Science-Based Information on Children, Youth and Families, promotes healthy child and family development by making science-based information available for those caring for or working with children. In addition to the resources and materials included on the site, links are provided to other useful and trustworthy websites.
SAMHSA.gov, the website of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, offers resources, publications, and guidance on a wide-range of topics related to children’s mental/behavioral health including trauma and substance use prevention.
Family Advocacy & Support Organizations
Organizations, information, support groups, and other services that help families navigate the behavioral health system, access care, and advocate for their children’s needs.
FAVOR, Inc. is a statewide, family-led, nonprofit organization that is committed to empowering families as advocates and partners in improving educational and health outcomes for children. Programs include:
- Family Peer Support Program: Provides direct peer support services to families with children who have medical, mental, or behavioral health challenges
- Family Systems Management Program: Increases program effectiveness and fosters family involvement in decision-making about policies and practices
- Learning and Leadership Academy: Empowers families to advocate for their needs through workshops and trainings
- CT Medical Home Initiative (MHI): Ensures that children and youth with special health care needs have access to coordinated quality health care services
CT Family Support Network (CTFSN)
CTFSN is a statewide organization that provides direct support to individuals and families in their homes and communities by sharing information and resources that empower people to make their voices heard and to become their own best advocate. CTFSN helps families raising children with disabilities and special healthcare needs, including behavioral health challenges, through the life span.
All CTFSN staff are parents, family members, or caregivers to a person with special needs and live in the communities they serve.
CT Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC)
CPAC is a statewide nonprofit organization that offers information and support to families with children who have any disability or chronic illness, age birth through 26. CPAC is committed to the idea that parents can be the most effective advocates for their children, given the confidence that knowledge and understanding of special education law and its procedures can bring.
National Alliance on Mental Illness – Connecticut (NAMI CT)
NAMI CT provides support, education, and advocacy at the community level. NAMI operates support groups offers information and guidance when needed. Their affiliates speak publicly to educate others about mental health conditions and provide educational programs, free of cost, to youth and young adults, parents, individuals, and families affected by mental illness. They advocate for effective and timely services from local service providers and offer hope to those experiencing the impact of mental illness.
Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, to address the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Through advocacy and support, the organization increases understanding and acceptance of people with autism and advances research into causes as well as better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.
Parent to Parent (PATH)
Serving families for over 30 years, PATH provides one-on-one parent support as well as a wide range of services across the developmental continuum, from prenatal and birth, through the school years, and into the transition to adulthood. PATH is a “one-stop-shop” for families of children with special needs.
African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Inc. (AFCAMP)
Headquartered in Hartford, AFCAMP is a nonprofit that provides resources, training, and advocacy to help parents become their children’s best advocates. From its inception, pursuing equity has fueled AFCAMP’s work to change systemic policies and practices that lead to adverse outcomes for children with disabilities and their families, especially those who are of color and limited means. Efforts are focused on the child-serving systems of education, justice, and health.
Parents Opening Doors / Padres Abriendo Puertas (PAP)
PAP is a community-based, grass roots organization composed of Latino parents of children, youth, and adults with disabilities. The mission of PAP is to ensure the human, civil, and educational rights and total community inclusion of Latino children and families with disabilities and mental health challenges. The organization’s primary goals are to empower parents, youth, and adults to achieve positions of leadership in their community in order to become self-advocates, and to advocate for system change in their local schools and community.
Fatherhood Organizations and Resources
Find organizations and resources to support fathers.
211 Fatherhood Resources
211 helps to identify local, community-based fatherhood resources, including services, programs, support groups, and educational opportunities, across the state.
The Connecticut Fatherhood Initiative (CFI)
The Connecticut Fatherhood Initiative, a broad-based statewide collaborative effort involving multiple state and local partners, focuses on changing the systems that can improve fathers’ ability to be fully and positively involved in the lives of their children.
Local & Regional Fatherhood Groups by City
Below is a sampling of local and regional fatherhood resources and groups available around Connecticut, organized alphabetically by city:
- Teen Fathers Mentoring Program (at GBAPP): Visit www.gbapp.org or call (203) 366-8255.
- Early Childhood Consultation Partnership: Call (203) 394-6529.
- Dads are the Difference (at St. Joseph Parenting Center): Visit the Dads are the Difference website or call (203) 273-5622.
- Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood Initiative (at Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford): Visit the Catholic Charities website or call (860) 297-7800.
- The Manhood Tree (at My People CT): Visit the My People CT website or call (860) 656-0450.
- Fatherhood Initiative (at New Opportunities, Inc.): Visit the Fatherhood Initiative website or call (203) 759-0841.
- Male Involvement Network (at Urban Community Alliance): Visit the Urban Community Alliance website or call (203) 786-5970.
- Fatherhood Initiative (at Madonna Place): Visit the Fatherhood Initiative website or call (860) 886-6600.
- Dads are the Difference (at St. Joseph Parenting Center): Visit the Dads are the Difference website or call (203) 588-1934.
- Father Involvement Program (at Family Strides): Visit the Family Strides website or call (860) 482-3236.
- Fatherhood Initiative and 24/7 Dads’ Group (at Eastern CT Health Network): Visit the ECHN website or call (860) 533-2990.
- Fatherhood Initiative (at New Opportunities, Inc.): Visit the Fatherhood Initiative website or call (203) 575-4210.
Youth & Young Adult Supports
Organizations and programs (mostly peer-run) that offer support for teens and young adults experiencing behavioral health and/or substance use challenges.
The Turning Point CT website was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. While they are not clinicians, they know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. They have lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol use, and the struggle to find help. Their goal is to provide information and support to help youth overcome and cope with challenges.
The site includes personal stories, blogs, and resources and you can also follow TurningPointCT on most social media platforms.
Join Rise Be
Join Rise Be, a program of the nonprofit Advocacy Unlimited, is a phone-based peer support warmline for young adults. Similar to hotlines, warmline staff connect callers to community resources, offer hope, and inspire them through the sharing of lived experiences. Operators are available from 12 pm – 9 pm, 7 days a week.
Join Rise Be also hosts a podcast for young adults in recovery called The Daily Flow and coordinates a Young Adult Statewide Advisory Board, which meets in New Britain (and via Zoom) on the first Thursday of each month at 11am.
Call the Join Rise Be warmline (available 12pm-9pm every day) at (855) 6-HOPENOW (855-646-7366).
A leading self-empowering addiction recovery support group. The website provides resources for teen support programs, meeting locations, and an online community.
Consultation, Referral Information, and Training Support for Pediatric Providers
Referral, training, and consultation resources to help pediatric medical providers connect children, youth and families to behavioral health services.
ACCESS Mental Health for Youth
ACCESS Mental Health for Youth (Access to all of Connecticut’s Children of Every Socioeconomic Status – Mental Health) is a program that offers free, timely consultation to primary care physicians (PCPs) seeking assistance in treating youth under the age of 22 years with behavioral health concerns, regardless of insurance. Specialists are available to answer questions and provide valuable resources for treatment in the community. Families can ask their pediatric provider to reach out to ACCESS Mental Health for behavioral health care assistance.
ACCESS Mental Health for Moms
ACCESS Mental Health for Moms offers psychiatric expertise, consultation, and resources to medical providers treating perinatal women presenting with mental health and/or substance use concerns. Medical providers include obstetric, pediatric, adult primary care, and psychiatric providers addressing the needs of women up to one-year post delivery. Mothers can ask their medical provider(s) to reach out to ACCESS Mental Health for behavioral health care assistance.
Educating Practices: Connecting Children to Behavioral Health Services
The Educating Practices program at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center offers training for pediatric providers and school health personnel to facilitate introductions to local behavioral health providers. The primary objectives of this training include the establishment of referral connections and the cultivation of collaborative relationships to address the mental/behavioral health needs of children, youth, and their families.
Level of Care Guidelines for Care Managers and Providers
Level of care guidelines are designed to assist care managers and providers in assessing a child’s/ adolescent’s clinical presentation and determining the appropriate level of care.
Get Involved: Opportunities for Collaboration and Systems Change
There are many ways for families, medical and behavioral health providers, and school staff to foster collaboration and help strengthen the children’s behavioral health system in Connecticut.
Community meetings welcome family and provider participation to help identify local service gaps, improve access to services, and increase collaboration among service providers.
Connecticut’s System of Care
Community Collaboratives bring providers, community members, caregivers, family members, and youth together in their communities to ensure that services meet the changing social, emotional, and behavioral needs of children, adolescents, and their families and that the resources available are used effectively.
The Collaboratives monitor service/resource gaps and advocate for system level change when needed. Collaborative meetings are open to all in the community.
Local Interagency Service Teams (LISTs)
Local Interagency Service Teams (LISTs) encourage collaborative efforts among local stakeholders to assess the physical, social, behavioral, and educational needs of children and youth in their communities that lead to juvenile justice involvement, and to assist in the development of comprehensive plans to address unmet needs.
The goal is to promote the implementation of data-driven, evidence-based approaches and programs to support positive youth development.
CT Department of Children & Families Regional Advisory Councils (RACs)
The purpose of a Regional Advisory Council (RAC) is to advise in the establishment and maintenance of a comprehensive system of services for children, youth, and families within a given region of the state.
Per legislative mandate, the mission of a RAC is to advise the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) on the development and delivery of services in a region, and to facilitate the coordination of services for children, youth and their families in that region.
Coalitions on Specific Issues (Substance Use, Suicide Prevention, and Early Psychosis)
Local Prevention Councils (Youth Substance Use Prevention)
Local Prevention Councils (LPCs) hold meetings where families and providers can learn about youth substance use prevention efforts. The LPCs offer opportunities for involvement in community-based prevention activities to address substance use, including vaping, marijuana, opioids, fentanyl, alcohol, tobacco, and more.
Regional Suicide Advisory Boards
Each Regional Suicide Advisory Board (RSAB) is unique and self-autonomous but supports the overall vision of the statewide CT SAB, the goals and objectives of the CT Suicide Prevention Plan, and the local and regional infrastructure activities.
Local RSABs offer training opportunities, provide guidance for strategic evidence-based activities, and assist in planning for mental health promotion and suicide prevention, intervention, and response.
The Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis Learning Collaborative
The Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis (STEP) Learning Collaborative is a statewide workforce development and community education initiative dedicated to transforming access, care quality, and outcomes for individuals and families impacted by recent onset psychosis.
Find information and get connected to services, resources, family support, community education, and workforce development: