North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center 2018 Annual Report, Pages 2, 7-9
About North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center
As the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is dedicated to restoring and strengthening the emotional wellbeing of children (from birth – age 24) and their families. Our highly trained staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, psychiatric nurses, drug and alcohol counselors, vocational rehabilitation counselors and family advocates lead the way in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, training, parent education, research and advocacy. The Guidance Center helps children and families address issues such as depression and anxiety; trauma; developmental delays; bullying; teen pregnancy; sexual abuse; teen drug and alcohol use; and family crises stemming from illness, death and divorce.
For 65 years, the Guidance Center has been a place of hope and healing, providing innovative and compassionate treatment to all who enter our doors, regardless of their ability to pay.
Our Programs And Services
Mental Health Services
Each of the Guidance Center’s three sites offers mental health services for children from birth through 24 and their families. The first step is a comprehensive evaluation, followed by an individually tailored treatment plan that may include any combination of individual, family and group therapy, and, when indicated, medication management with a psychiatrist. All treatment plans and communication with other entities (schools, doctors, etc.) require family consent.
Substance Use Treatment Services
Drug and alcohol treatment and prevention services are provided for children, teenagers and their families at the Guidance Center’s Leeds Place – Serving Young People in Westbury. Substance use treatment services include counseling youths who are alcohol and drug users, children who live in families with a parent who is suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction and youths who have cooccurring chemical dependency and mental health problems. Prevention services are offered to the local school district.
Triage and Emergency Unit
The Fay J. Lindner Foundation Triage and Emergency Services offer a rapid response to psychiatric emergencies—a sudden set of circumstances in which there is an impending risk of danger to the child or adolescent such as risk of suicide, risk of physical harm to others, a state of seriously impaired judgment in which the child is endangered, and situations of risk to a defenseless victim involving abuse, neglect or exposure to domestic violence. Our goal is to strengthen, stabilize and support.
Early Childhood Services
The Marks Family Right From the Start 0-3 + Center (RFTS) in Manhasset offers parent education, therapeutic and support services for young children and their families, as well as preschool evaluations for children 3-5. The RFTS Center is the “umbrella” for early childhood services, agency-wide, that also include:
CAREGIVER GRANDPARENT RESPITE AND SUPPORT PROGRAM (C-GRASP) – Support and education for grandparents who are the primary caregivers of their young grandchildren. Through partnerships with a team of supportive local entities, we provide the grandparents with a variety of services, including respite and peer support activities, counseling, clothing, food, housing assistance, transportation and school advocacy.
CHANGING FAMILIES – For young children witnessing the often painful and acrimonious dynamics of divorce. This group program offers the youngsters a therapeutic experience where the use of play, storytelling, relaxation techniques and peer influences help reduce the harmful effects of family crisis. Parents also meet in a separate group that offers them support and educates them about what their children are experiencing.
CHILDREN’S CENTER AT NASSAU COUNTY FAMILY COURT – A safe and enriching environment on site at Nassau County Family Court for children 6 weeks to 12 years old while their parents are involved in court business. More than “babysitting,” the program is a true learning center, and it also serves as a vital resource and referral center for families.
GASAK (GRANDPARENT ADVOCATES SUPPORTING AUTISTIC KIDS) – Monthly meeting of grandparents to support, inform and advocate for families with autistic children. The GASAK group also seeks to raise awareness about autism and provide an informational clearinghouse to empower families.
DIANE GOLDBERG MATERNAL DEPRESSION PROGRAM – Rapid response and diagnosis for mothers suffering from maternal postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Treatment includes individual, family and group therapy. We offer a team approach in which each designated referral is treated as an emergency, and a psychiatric evaluation is provided as part of each assessment.
GOOD BEGINNINGS FOR BABIES (GBB) – Support, counseling, advocacy and education for pregnant and parenting teens at the Leeds Place, our Westbury branch office. GBB works to promote healthier pregnancies, healthier babies and happier relationships between parent and child. In weekly prenatal and parenting groups, teens receive education on issues such as nutrition, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, newborn care and perinatal mood disorders.
FRIENDS OF NANCY MARKS NATURE NURSERY – A thoughtfully designed garden area for young children. There are several hands-on stations and activities (e.g. musical instruments, water, paints, sand, graduated steps, etc.) for young children and their parents to experience nature through their senses. The children who have experienced this area love all that is has to offer and look forward to regularly returning.
Bereavement and Trauma Services
The Lucille and Martin E. Kantor Bereavement and Trauma Center in Roslyn Heights offers assistance to children, youths and their families during times of grief and trauma, including parents of murder victims and other homicide survivors (POMV). Mental health assessments and ongoing care is offered for children who are abuse survivors or have witnessed violence through the Renée and Robert Rimsky Abuse Prevention and Treatment Services.
Diagnostic Services/Learning to Learn
The Guidance Center offers families comprehensive diagnostic assessments by highly qualified teams of caring psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors and drug and alcohol counselors with special expertise in diagnosing and treating children. Our Learning to Learn Center offers specialized screening, diagnosis and tutoring for children suspected of having learning issues, attention deficit problems and developmental disabilities.
Intensive Child and Family Services
This cluster of services is aimed at children and teens with serious emotional disturbances and their families, offering care coordination, crisis intervention in the home, case management and skills-in-living training. Teams of social workers, psychiatrists and parent advocates work collaboratively to preserve families and prevent institutionalization through an intensive response, often in the home environment. This cluster includes:
CLINICAL CARE COORDINATION TEAM (CCCT) – Provides home-based clinical services for troubled children and teens. The program serves children ages 5-18 who have either refused to go to therapy or have other issues that prevent them from coming in. CCCT provides inhome individual and family therapy, as well as psychiatric consultation, evaluation and monitoring.
COORDINATED CHILDREN’S SERVICES INITIATIVE (CCSI) – Coordinates services among multiple systems to prevent children from falling through the cracks. The program works directly with youth who are served in multiple systems and are at risk of placement in one of those systems (i.e., hospital or residential program). CCSI provides intensive care coordination, family-driven, strengths-based service planning, advocacy and parenting skills training.
FAMILY PEER SUPPORT SERVICES – Provides parentto-parent support both individually and/or in groups to families who have children experiencing social, emotional and/or behavioral challenges in their home, school or community.
INTENSIVE SUPPORT PROGRAM (ISP) – This schoolbased program offers intensive mental health services on-site at three Nassau B.O.C.E.S. schools for children, ages 5-21, and their families from all 56 Nassau County school districts. A collaborative program developed by Nassau B.O.C.E.S. and the Guidance Center, ISP provides a therapeutic and nurturing alternative for children with emotional difficulties who feel overwhelmed in regular school.
LATINA GIRLS PROJECT – Offers bilingual and bicultural mental health counseling, group meetings and outings for adolescent girls suffering from depression. The Latina Girls Project was created to respond to the alarming rate of depression, school refusal, self-harm, sexual abuse, suicidal ideation and attempted suicides by young Hispanic girls, ages 12-16. The project incorporates individual therapy, family counseling, weekly group meetings and supervised outings.
ORGANIC GARDEN PROGRAM – Consists of two organic gardens, one at our Roslyn Heights headquarters and the other at The Marks Family Right From the Start 0-3+ Center. Our families and groups have utilized the gardens to learn many important lessons and skills. It has been an opportunity for many technology-engrossed children to unplug and appreciate nature. Not only do the children and their families enjoy this therapeutic time outdoors, but some are getting their first tastes of new vegetables and are broadening their palates.
WILDERNESS RESPITE PROGRAM – Offers groups for youth at risk that emphasize outdoor activities as a gateway to mastery of social skills and youth empowerment. Teens are inundated with constant stimulation from their tech devices. That lack of connection to the natural world negatively impacts them physically, emotionally and socially. By participating in nature activities such as hikes and gardening, the teens learn skills such as individual growth, leadership, self-esteem and improved communication, and they also are contributing to our environment.
Training and Consultation
The Guidance Center provides community workshops, forums and trainings for parents and professionals on a broad range of topics dealing with children and families. Topics in 2018 included addiction to social media, depression and anxiety in children and teens, and combating the stigma against mental illness. We also conducted a training series for professionals on planning for successful groups, Latina Girls at risk for suicide and other self-harming behaviors, child and adolescent psychiatry for non-MDs, and differential diagnosis of ADHD in school-aged children.
Research and Advocacy
The Guidance Center’s advocacy work in 2018 was aimed at fighting for equitable care for all who experience mental health and substance use challenges, which we focused on in our Project Access study. In December 2018, the Guidance Center and others achieved a milestone with the passage of the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Act. This historic law will compel insurers to submit key data to determine if they are in compliance with federal and state parity laws. We also became one of the partners in the Parity@10 Compliance Campaign, which seeks to ensure that insurance carriers comply with the federal parity law so that consumers can access the mental health care they are entitled by law to receive.