If a child is approved for residential mental health treatment and no funds are immediately available, the child is placed on a wait list, with case management and other services provided until either the child's condition improves or funds become available. For children placed on the wait list, the family service plan outlines the alternative services to be provided. When funding becomes available, each child waiting for placement is reassessed to determine current condition and needs. This provision is important, because the services provided to the child and family in the interim may have been successful in removing the need for residential placement.
Special note: mental health services alone can never address all of the problems a child and family may be experiencing. That is why it is so important that a comprehensive assessment be obtained, if at all possible, and that a multi-disciplinary staffing be held. For example, the child may have underlying medical problems that are contributing to or causing unusual behavior, and medical treatment may be needed in conjunction with or even instead of mental health treatment. There may also be mental health problems that are so long-term in nature that they must be managed through a comprehensive service delivery system as would any chronic medical condition.