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CARES: Children Are Really Extra Special

Our commitment at the Capital Health CARES program is to provide high quality behavioral health diagnosis and compassionate treatment to children who do not require inpatient care but who require more than community resources in order to function successfully in a social environment.

The CARES program at Capital Health, in partnership with the Center for Family Guidance, offers children ages 3-21 an opportunity to improve their quality of life by identifying severe emotional, behavioral, or psychiatric needs and addressing them using the best possible treatment options.

CARES is open Monday through Friday, year round, and offers two levels of care to serve children and their families.

Full Day, Acute Partial Hospitalization (children ages 5-14) and Therapeutic Nursery (children ages 3-4):
Children participate in the program during typical school hours and receive a complement of intensive therapeutic and academic services. They will participate in daily group therapy on topics such as self-esteem, anger management, identifying feelings, social skills, improving concentration, family dynamics, team building, and more. Each child is also assigned a licensed clinician who provides individual and family therapy once per week. During the school year, children receive one-to-one support from licensed teachers to complete the school work provided by their school. In most cases, door-to-door transportation and meals are provided for CARES children.

Outpatient (children ages 5-21):
Children meet with a therapist approximately once per week for individual and/or family therapy to help identify and resolve issues related to home, school, and social situations. Group therapy, monthly medication management (as needed), and psychiatric evaluations with a psychiatrist and or advanced practice nurse are also available.

A child may benefit from CARES if he or she:

  • Struggles with keeping focus and attention, with or without hyperactivity.
  • Lacks self-confidence and has a poor self-image.
  • Struggles with anxiety disorders such as social or school phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Is suspected of having mood disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, or dysthymia.
  • Presents with oppositional defiant behaviors such as talking back to adults and little to no respect for authority or property.
  • Presents with aggression or abusive behaviors such as arguing, fighting, blaming others, or frequent discipline problems at school.
  • Presents with emotional problems resulting from abuse, violence, divorce, separation, step-parenting, substance abuse, death, abandonment, or other life stressors.
  • Has suicidal thoughts or self-abusive behavior.

The staff at the Capital Health CARES Program is a multidisciplinary team of trained counselors, licensed clinicians, academic instructors, a registered nurse, an advanced practice nurse, and a psychiatrist. Everyone on the team is committed to providing children and their families the tools they need to cope with and manage the challenges they face in their daily lives.

How to Get Started

Referrals to the Capital Health CARES Program can be made by a child’s school, guidance counselor, nurse, child study team, parents, pediatrician, other health care providers, or public agencies such as the Family Court System, and Department of Child Protection and Permanency (formally known as DYFS). The program may also be used as a step down to less acute services following inpatient hospitalization. Outpatient mental health programs may use the program when a more intense and comprehensive service is needed.

To make a referral, or for more information, please call our main line at 609-599-6430.

Additional Contact Information

Michele Czechowski, LCSW
Program Director

Christi Weston, MD, PhD
Medical Director, Capital Health – Behavioral Health Specialists