header graphic

Child Abuse Hotline

Children's Mental Health

Jennifer Parmalee, Deputy Commissioner

Children's Mental Health services are designed to provide high-quality, community-based mental health services and supports for children with emotional and behavioral challenges and their families. The goal is to help children with mental health needs achieve success in home, school and community settings.

If you need help for your child/teen with emotional or behavioral challenges, call the ACCESS Team at 463-1100 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A trained staff person will link you to community supports and services that best fit your child’s and family’s needs. The staff team includes parents who have raised or are raising a child requiring mental health, child welfare or juvenile justice services.

The ACCESS Crisis Team (also reached at 463-1100) will respond to calls from families with safety/urgency concerns that need an “eyes on“ response within 48 hours. A mental health clinician from the ACCESS Crisis Team typically makes a home visit to assess the child/teen’s needs, develops a safety plan with the family, and makes referrals to ongoing treatment services. The clinician can also provide follow-up visits until services are in place.

The Crisis Team is not staffed to respond to emergency situations requiring immediate intervention. These are best handled by calling “911” and having trained first responders manage the emergency.

Mental Health Clinic for Children and Youth
The Onondaga County Mental Health Clinic for Children and Youth exists to provide family friendly, clinically-effective outpatient mental health services to children and youth under age 18 who live in Onondaga County. The Clinic provides assessment and treatment services that are designed to help children and youth to develop new ways of thinking, manage their emotions appropriately, make good choices about their behavior and relate well to others. Common concerns that bring a child/youth into our Clinic include: problems with attention, focus or hyperactivity; difficulty following adult directives; sadness, anger or fear that is so intense that it interferes with normal child/youth activities; and behavioral problems that interfere with school or family functioning. Adult caregivers are always an integral part of our treatment strategies.

To find out more about our services, call the Clinic at (315) 435-7707 and ask about clinic services. The Clinic offers a generous sliding scale fee for families who do not have health insurance.

Family Support Services (FSS)
Onondaga County Family Support Services (FSS) are intended to provide short term support to adult caregivers who are parenting children or youth who face significant mental health challenges. FSS works with families to assess their needs, advocate for services, assist the family in accessing community resources, and support adult caregivers both to achieve parenting goals and to support their children and youth in achieving personal goals. Typical FSS activities include:

  • Assist adult caregivers in obtaining medical, dental or mental health services for themselves and their family members;
  • Assist caregivers to apply for benefits and services to meet basic needs;
  • Work with families and schools to develop strategies to enhance a child’s or youth's ability to meet educational goals;
  • Coach parents in developing structure, rules, consequences and rewards that will help children and youth achieve normal developmental milestones;
  • Research and assist in applying for after school and summer programs that are appropriate for children and youth with mental health needs; and
  • Provide education and support for parents who are trying to learn their way around the mental health system of care in Onondaga County.


For more information, contact the County Clinic at (315) 435-7707 and ask about Family Support Services. There is no charge for these services and all services are customized to meet the family's unique needs. Services are delivered in the home or community in which the family resides.

Adolescent Day Treatment Program
The Onondaga County Adolescent Day Treatment Program provides intensive mental health treatment for children and adolescents between 9th and 12th grades who reside in Onondaga County. The program provides comprehensive services to address the emotional, behavioral, psychological, social, medical and academic needs of children and adolescents who are experiencing significant difficulty functioning at school, home and community. Children and adolescents attend program daily in lieu of attending a typical school program. The program operates year round. Family participation and collaboration are an integral part of the Day Treatment Program.

Children and adolescents are referred to Day Treatment by their home school district. Families interested in Day Treatment should discuss this with their district Committee on Special Education. Once a referral is made, an evaluation is scheduled to determine if day treatment services will meet the child/adolescent’s needs. Evaluations are scheduled when an opening is available.
To find out more about the Day Treatment Program, call (315) 435-8423. Day Treatment services are financially supported by health insurance and school district support. A generous sliding fee scale is provided for families who either do not have health insurance or have insurance that does not cover day treatment.

© 2001- 2017 Onondaga County, New York  All Rights Reserved.   |  Ongov.net  |  Privacy Statement | Directions & Parking | Language or Disability Access Assistance