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Behavioral health: A glossary of terms

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study – a research study, originally conducted in California and later replicated in Philadelphia and other cities, that examines the effects of childhood trauma.

Behavioral health issue – the way someone thinks, acts, or feels that gets in the way of his or her daily life.

Behavioral health providers – trained professionals who care for those dealing with behavioral health issues.

Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS) – formerly “wraparound.” A type of community-based service that gives support to the child both in the home and at school. Depending on your childs needs, the team might include therapeutic staff support (TSS), a behavior specialist consultant and/or a mobile therapist.

Behavioral health services – The types of help your child can get for his or her behavioral health issues.

Behavioral Health Worker – a school therapeutic services (STS) worker who will give children help in the classroom.

Behavior Specialist Consultant – this BHRS worker figures out what the best care plan is for a child.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – Pennsylvania’s health insurance program for uninsured children and teens. In Philadelphia, CHIP is provided by Keystone Health Plan East, UnitedHealthcare, Kidz Partners, and Aetna.

Community-based services – types of behavioral health services that are provided at home or in school. These can include BHRS and school-based services.

Community Behavioral Health (CBH) – this is the insurance company who pays for behavioral health services for children insured through Medical Assistance in Philadelphia.

Evaluation – to receive behavioral health services, the child or adolescent must be evaluated by an MD psychiatrist or a licensed clinical psychologist, who gives specific recommendations for any level of care, including specific hours recommended and location of service.

Group Mobile Therapy – the part of STS where children with similar behavioral health needs will get to work together.

Lead Clinician – an STS worker who will give children therapy at school.

Medical Assistance (MA) – the type of insurance that pays for community-based services. Your child may be eligible for MA based on your income, or if your child has special needs.

Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP) – a state program that gives your child free rides to his orher behavioral health appointments, or repays you for the costs of getting your child to his or her care.

Mobile Therapist – this BHRS worker will provide therapy for your child and family.

Outpatient services – types of behavioral health services that you receive in a behavioral health provider’s office. These can include individual, group, or family therapy.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) – a school-wide system of support for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behavior.

Psychiatrist – a type of behavioral health provider who is the medical doctor (MD, DO) of a child’s care team and who can order medications.

Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII) – a multi-level approach by the School District of Philadelphia to the early identification and support of students’ learning and behavior needs. This starts with screening all students in the classroom, followed by behavioral or other support for struggling learners. This replaced the CSAP program.

Sanctuary Model – A method of creating a “trauma-informed” culture in a community such as a school. Created in the mid 1980s by Dr. Sandra Bloom, a psychiatrist and associate professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health, and several colleagues. Local providers employing it include the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center.

School-Based Services – behavioral health services that are provided at schools. These include BHRS and School Therapeutic Services (STS).

School Therapeutic Services (STS) – a school-based service that gives students support through both individual and group therapy. The STS team is made up of a Lead Clinician, Behavioral Health Worker, and Group Mobile Therapy. STS currently exists in 103 District schools.

Sliding scale fee – a small fee that uninsured persons may be asked to pay when getting behavioral health services.

Therapists – a type of behavioral health provider who gives the most one-on-one care to children with behavioral health needs. They can be a psychologist (MS, MA, PsyD, or Ph.D.) or a social worker (MSW or Ph.D.).

Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS) – this BHRS worker is trained to give a child one-on-one help in the classroom.

Trauma-informed Care – a behavioral health approach that treats discipline as a last resort by asking, “What happened to you?”rather than“What’s wrong with you?”

This glossary was adapted from a publication of Public Citizens for Children and Youth called, A Guide to Outpatient Behavioral Health Services for Philadelphia County’s Children and Adolescents Enrolled in Medical Assistance and CHIP.

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