By: Ian MacDonald, LMSW
I have been an IICAPS worker for a total of 5 years. IICAPS is a home-based service, as opposed to the more traditional outpatient settings we often think of when discussing mental health treatment. IICAPS stands for: Intensive In-home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Service.
An IICAPS team consists of a Masters Level Clinician and a Bachelors Level Mental Health Counselor, who both work to meet the needs of families with children who have mental health issues that are beyond the scope of other, less-intensive service models. Our children are typically at risk of psychiatric hospitalization and struggle emotionally and behaviorally across many settings. The main goal of any IICAPS intervention is to stabilize the child and assist parents/guardians in responding to the child’s mental health needs, while also taking concrete steps to ensure continued engagement in mental health treatment after IICAPS ends.
IICAPS is typically a 6 month program that meets in the home for three sessions a week: a parent session, a child session, and a family session. A typical parent session may involve discussions around how to best meet the needs of the child, whether that be providing more structure in the home, setting clear and consistent consequences for specific behaviors, or gathering information on additional supportive services that may help the child and family function better. A child session is just that, 1:1 time with either the clinician or mental health counselor. What is done/discussed during these sessions is dependent upon the specific needs of the child and what he or she can tolerate (i.e. more play-centric therapy for younger children vs. more dialogue and discussion with teenagers – if possible/applicable). Lastly, the family session, which is debatably the most important component of treatment, typically involves the entire household. Family sessions may involve a group activity, a game or discussion, and are a time for all members of the household to engage in open and honest dialogue with one another.
IICAPS services require full participation in all components of treatment. Your IICAPS team will make every effort to accommodate a family’s schedule, whether that be meeting a parent on their lunch break from work, or communicating with the child’s school to arrange sessions. The IICAPS team attends all school meetings and works collaboratively with other providers including, but not limited to: Teachers, School Social Workers, Psychiatrists and Pediatricians. Psychiatry services are included as part of IICAPS should a parent request them, and IICAPS teams make every effort upon discharge to ensure there is no lapse in services.
We recognize that it can be a lot to have people in your home for six months, but we are interested in meeting you exactly where you are. There is no judgement, and we all share the same goal: helping our children succeed to the best of their ability and making life a little easier for you and your family. Should you have any questions about IICAPS services, feel free to contact our Home and Community-Based Services Director, Robin Entress, LCSW.
See our IICAPS brochure here to learn more!