The clinical services are based at the home of the team, CASA Centre. There psychiatrists and therapists conduct assessments, develop treatment plans, and carry out those plans with the families and caregivers. Assessments involve extensive observation of the child as well as interviews with parents, significant other family members, and significant other caregivers. Treatment is multi-modal and will often include individual and/or filial play therapy, parent education and support groups, guided parent-child interaction and family therapy.
Referrals to clinical services can be made by parents or professional clinicians and care givers. Referrals of infants and preschooler under the age of four and a half should be directed to the CASA intake receptionist. All other referrals are made through the regional children’s mental health intake service.
When a referral is received by the team, the information is reviewed and a triage decision is made based on the severity of the reported symptoms and the age of the child (younger children are priorized). Appointments will be booked for a psychiatrist/therapist assessment. Selected referrals are scheduled for a team assessment in which the client benefits from the observation and input of psychologists, occupational therapists and nurses as well as psychiatrists. A bio-psycho-social framework guides the assessment.
Treatment plans specify the approach to be used and the parties to be involved. Every effort is made to include significant service providers such as family physicians and pediatricians, social workers with Children’s Services and child care centre staff. The team may consult with other treatment teams at CASA or refer to other programs such as the Family Therapy Team. The team works closely with other mental health programs in the region and can access more highly specialized services such as speech and language treatment, and neuropsychological assessments.