Sheltering Long Islanders through life’s storms for over 130 years

Raising Children with Emotional Disturbances Home and Community-Based Services, Children's Care Coordination, Family Center Nassau (Family Support), Family Center Nassau (Respite), Family Center Suffolk (Family Support), Family Center Suffolk (Youth Peer Advocacy)


Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)

The mission of the HCBS program is to provide home and community-based services to children between 5 and 21 years of age who face the likelihood of residential placement or hospitalization due to a serious emotional disturbance (SED). Our objective is to coordinate an individually tailored plan of care which is designed to meet the needs of the child and his/her family by using their strengths and building a supportive home and community-based environment.

How We Work

An Individualized Care Coordinator (ICC) is assigned to work intensively with the child and family to determine what it will take to allow the child to remain at home and in the community. The process is “family-driven”, meaning the family is completely involved in every stage and every aspect of the process. Together we identify individual and family strengths and create a plan of services which will meet the needs of the family. Family & Children’s Association is working with several other community-based agencies to ensure adequate services are available to each family. This collaboration also offers the family a choice of provider (for all services except ICC).


Under this program, NYS is able to “waive” some of the customary rules which govern Medicaid reimbursement. The most significant of these is the ability to consider only the child’s income (not the parents’) and the addition of the following services:

  • Individualized Care Coordination to ensure the development of a customized plan of services; designed to meet the specific needs of each child and family. The Coordinator’s role is to guarantee the fullest measure of child/family participation in the process and the smooth linkage to all available/pertinent sources of help.
  • Respite Services to provide needed temporary relief to the primary care giver(s) as well as companionship and positive role-modeling for the child.
  • Skill Building Services to assist the child to acquire and develop the specific skills needed to function more successfully in the community.
  • Family Support Services designed to enhance the child’s ability to function as part of a family, and the family’s ability to care for the child in the home. This service is provided by trained and credentialed Family Peer Advocates who have lived experience raising a child with mental health concerns and are personally familiar with the associated challenges.
  • Intensive In-home Services to provide on-going interventions in the home that support the child’s social and emotional development and learning.  The Intensive In-Home Worker engages the child and family in ways that support the child’s treatment and service plan goals.
  • Crisis Response Services to help stabilize situations whenever and wherever they may occur.

Children & Families We Serve

Eligibility is determined by the following factors:

  • Age: The child must be at least 5 but not older than 21.
  • Illness: “Serious Emotional Disturbance” is defined by a DSM IV diagnosis (excluding substance disorders, organic brain syndromes, developmental disabilities and social V code conditions.) and has experienced functional limitations due to emotional disturbance over the past 12 months
  • Placement Risk: The child must meet the eligibility criteria for placement in a residential mental health facility.
  • Capability: The child must be capable of being cared for in the community if provided appropriate services.
  • Voluntary Participation: The child has a viable and consistent living environment with parents/guardians and both child and family are willing to participate in intensive in-home services.
  • Medicaid Eligibility: The child’s income and resources (without reference to parents) must meet Medicaid eligibility.
  • Fiscal Eligibility: The child must be capable of being served in the community at the federally approved average yearly cost.

Parents or professionals working with the child/family can make referrals by contacting

SPOA Unit/Children’s Services Nassau County Department of MH/MR/DD

60 Charles Lindbergh Blvd. Uniondale, NY 11553

(516) 227-7057

Fax (516) 227-7076

Click here for SPOA Brochure

Click here for SPOA Application

Christine LaRose, LMSW, Program Director

400 Oak Street Garden City, NY 11550

Phone: 516.485.5976 x3273


Children’s Care Coordination

The mission of the Care Coordination program is the coordination and linkage of services to children, teens and young adults between the ages of 5 and 21 who are diagnosed with a serious emotional disturbance (SED).

Click Here for Program Flyer

How We Work

A Care Manager will work with you and your child to develop a comprehensive care plan to help identify and reach your goals.  The Care Manager will also help coordinate and link you to appropriate community resources and supports.

Children & Families We Serve

Eligibility is determined by the following factors:

  • Age: The child must be between the ages of 5 and 21 years old
  • Location: Reside in Nassau County
  • Illness: Have an Serious Emotional Disturbance” defined by a DSM IV diagnosis (excluding substance disorders, organic brain syndromes, developmental disabilities and social V code conditions) and have experienced functional limitations due to emotional disturbance over the past 12 months or Complex Trauma

Family Center (Nassau/Suffolk)

The mission of the Family Center is to provide family support and respite care services designed to help families care for their children who have an emotional disturbance. Download brochure.

Support Group Info

Caring for a child with special needs can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming. Family support groups and respite care can reduce stress and pressure and ultimately enhance the parent’s effectiveness. Please call 516.485.5914 or 631-389-4693 for more information on support groups.



Family Center is a program that provides family support services designed to enhance the capacity of families to care for their child and reduce the need for long-term psychiatric hospitalization. The primary services provided by the Family Center program are family support and respite care. The program employs Parent Advocates who have personal experience raising a child with behavioral and/or emotional difficulties. The Family Center program serves families raising children diagnosed with a Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) between the age of 5 and 18 who reside in Nassau County. Family Center does not discriminate because of race, creed, or national origin. It is one of many programs offered by Family and Children’s Association, a nonprofit agency providing residential and support services to Long Island youth and their families since 1884.


  • Family support groups offer parents mutual support by providing opportunities to meet with others who are raising children with emotional disabilities. There is an exchange of information for available resources and supports, and how to cope with the stress of raising a child with an emotional disability. Groups are run by Parent Advocates and offer opportunities to share one’s experience, strength, and hope.
  • Respite offers temporary care to children with an SED diagnosis while providing relief to the family
  • Advocacy for families and children
  • Skills development/training
  • Home visits
  • Parent “warm-line” for support and information


To get an application for Family Center, please click here. Family Center is funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health and the Nassau County Department of Mental Health


Family Center Nassau

Christine Miller, LCSW, AVP, Children’s Behavioral Health

400 Oak Street Garden City, NY 11530

Phone: 516.485.5914

Fax: 516.565.6095


Family Center Suffolk

4400 Veterans Highway, Suite 202

Holbrook, NY 11741