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Children, Youth and Families

Information on insurance advocacy, links to information, Parent Support Partners and Youth Peer Support.
  • The Parent Support Partner (PSP) Medicaid service is an intervention-based approach to support families whose children receive services through a community mental health service provider.

    The purpose of the Parent Support Partner Project or service is to increase family involvement and engagement within the mental health treatment process and to equip parents with the skills necessary to address the challenges of raising a youth with special needs thus improving outcomes for youth with SED, serious emotional disturbance or intellectual/developmental or I/DD, involved with the public mental health system.

    The PSP service is provided by trained parent with first-hand experience navigating public child serving agencies and raising a child with mental health or developmental challenges. Support provided to a family by a PSP will focus on increasing confidence and competence in parenting skills, increasing the parent’s knowledge to navigate systems and partner with service providers, and empower the parent to develop sustainable, natural support networks after formal service delivery has ended. Parent Support Partner’s, serving as an equal member of the treatment team, will assist in identifying goals within the Person Centered/Family Centered Plan that will support the parent to develop the new skills, resources, and confidence in parenting a child with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and/or intellectual developmental disabilities (I/DD).

    For additional information, go to: or contact Kelly Bailey, Parent Support Partner Coordinator at

  • Michigan’s Youth Peer Support Project is a Statewide Initiative in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that provides Medicaid reimbursable Youth Peer Support to eligible youth as a part of Michigan’s Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment State Plan. Association of Children’s Mental Health (ACMH) provides the Statewide Coordinator & Assistant Coordinator for the project and provides initial training and ongoing coaching, supervision, support and technical assistance.

    The Youth Peer Support Medicaid Service is designed to support youth with a serious emotional disturbance through shared activities and interventions.

    The goals of Youth Peer Support include:

    • supporting youth empowerment,
    • assisting youth in developing skills to improve their overall functioning and quality of life, and,
    • working collaboratively with others involved in delivering the youth’s care.

    Youth Peer Support services can be in the form of direct support, information sharing and skill building.

    Youth Peer Support Specialists must have lived experience navigating behavioral health systems and must participate in and complete the approved Michigan Department Health and Human Services training curriculum.

    Qualifications for the Youth Peer Support Specialist include:

    • Young adult, ages 18 through age 26, with lived experience who received mental health services as a youth.
    • Willing and able to self- identify as a person who has or is receiving public behavioral health services and is prepared to use that experience in helping others.
    • Experience receiving services as a youth in complex, child serving systems preferred (behavioral health, child welfare, juvenile justice, special education, etc.)
    • Employed by PIHP/CMHSP or its contract providers.
    • Trained in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services approved curriculum and ongoing training model.

    For more information about the Youth Peer Project or for information about how to bring Youth Peer Support to your community contact:  Kristina Dristy, Youth Peer Support Statewide Coordinator, or 517-643-3314.

  • ACMH’s Mission: To ensure All Michigan children and youth with emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges and their families live in a safe, welcoming community with access to needed services and supports.

    Who we are: Family ~ almost all of ACMH’s staff are family members who themselves have navigated the mental health and other family service systems for their own children with mental health challenges.

    The Premier Voice of Advocacy for children and youth with mental health challenges and their families in Michigan!  ACMH is:

    • MI’s Chapter of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.
    • MI’s Federally funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) to serve as the Statewide Family Network for Michigan.
    • The training & Coordinating Partner for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s Parent Support Partner and Youth Peer Support Projects.
    • A statewide and community partner to child and family serving systems; working to improve services and supports to the families we serve and to ensure that family voice continues to be key in systems change efforts.


    For additional information, go to


    The “Blueprint for Change: A Comprehensive Model for the Identification and Treatment of Youth with Mental Health Needs in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System” (K. Skowyra and J. Cocozza, National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Policy Research Associates, Inc.) estimates that “as many as 70 percent of youth in the (juvenile justice) system are affected with a mental health disorder, and one in five suffer from a mental illness so severe as to impair their ability as a young person and grown into a  responsible adult”.

    The Division of Mental Health Services to Children and Families at MDHHS is committed to helping youth and families across systems, including those children and youth with serious emotional disturbance who may come to the attention of the juvenile justice system. Throughout the years, our division has funded a variety of collaborative projects through the Mental Health Block Grant, which were designed to positively impact juvenile justice involved youth and their families. Some of the previously Mental Health Block grant funded projects include Multi-Systemic Therapy, Brief Strategic Family Therapy, Wraparound services specifically for Court supervised populations/ programming, statewide training related to mental health screening, and Community Mental Health clinicians working directly within the Juvenile Court to provide screening, assessments, and/or consultations for court involved youth. 

    In 2017 the Division of Mental Health Services to Children and Families utilized Mental Health Block grant funding to launch the “Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Screening Initiative”, which is designed to provide age appropriate screening and service linkage to children, youth, and families that are newly introduced to the juvenile justice system (pre-adjudication) and those at-risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system in an effort to promote diversion from formal court involvement whenever possible.  The Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Screening Initiative is funded through Mental Health Block grant funding, which allows the services to be provided at no cost to the child and family.  In 2019 additional Mental Health Block grant funding was allocated to expand the project into additional Michigan communities. The Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Initiative project sites work directly with their local system partners (i.e. schools, ISDs, courts, law enforcement, etc.) to implement the project in a way that will best meet the unique needs of their community/catchment area.      

    The Division also provides staff support to the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee of the Mental Health Diversion Council.  More information on the Mental Health Diversion Council and Juvenile Justice Subcommittee can be found at,4617,7-201-64984---,00.html