• The high-touch multidisciplinary team of providers and peers tailor services for each child and family; meet children where they are in the community  –

  • The CDC reports mental health–related emergency department visits among 12 to 17 year-olds increased by 31% during the pandemic –

(New York, NY) – JCCA, a 200-year-old nonprofit dedicated to providing quality child welfare and mental health services to historically marginalized children and families, has launched New York City’s first Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team for young people ages 10 to 21. Funded by New York State, the Youth ACT Team will support children for whom traditional behavioral health treatments have not worked. For decades, the ACT model has proved highly successful in supporting the hardest to reach and treat adults.

“Our new Youth ACT Team will help us engage some of the hardest-to-reach young people and their families with comprehensive, 24/7 mental and behavioral health support, at a time when children are unfortunately experiencing serious mental health challenges,” says JCCA CEO Ron Richter. “The program is a critical addition to our continuum of behavioral health supports for young people who have experienced significant trauma, developmental and emotional challenges, and for whom traditional services have not worked. We are grateful to the NYS Office of Mental Health for expanding the ACT model to children—this type of high-touch intervention was sorely missing.”

JCCA launched its ACT team in May and is enrolling participants from Brooklyn in its program for 48 clients. The multidisciplinary team of clinicians, case workers and peers is available around the clock for participating children and their families, allowing young people who are at risk of entering residential or inpatient psychiatric treatment to access supports at all times while remaining with their families and in their communities. The program adapts the successful adult ACT team model’s intensive, coordinated, and individualized services and interventions to the additional challenges presented by adolescents living with their families and attending school. Team members connect in person with participants at least twice weekly or more as needed, meeting them at home, school and other community settings. Team members provide direct mental health services, case management, support with school-related issues, and coordination with other providers.

There is an urgent need for more mental health services for young people. The CDC reports that mental health–related emergency department visits among 12 to 17 year-olds increased by 31% during the pandemic. In New York, the Coalition for Behavioral Health reports that the pandemic sparked a 77 percent increase in demand for nonprofit’s behavioral health services.

To date, JCCA has enrolled four participants. “Our team is cohesive and highly motivated to engage with and support participating young people and their families,” says Ricardo Bermudez, Program Director/Team Leader of the JCCA Youth ACT Team. “We look forward to growing the program and meeting the unique needs of each young person with our talented providers and peers.”

About JCCA:One of New York’s oldest child and family services organizations, JCCA provides the highest quality child welfare and mental health services to more than 17,000 children and their families every year. JCCA’s transformative programs include foster and residential care, educational assistance and remediation, behavioral health and wellness services, case management, and child maltreatment prevention. Since 1822, JCCA has worked with New York’s neediest and most vulnerable children and families to ensure that their safety, permanency and well-being leads to a life of stability and promise. https://www.jccany.org/