Tip Sheet for Families Considering a Residential Program


Is a residential program really the best place for my child to receive treatment right now? Are there community services that would work?

A residential program is an important option for assessment, medication management, respite or learning coping skills to be able to return to the home and/or community. Mississippi Youth Programs Around the Clock (MYPAC) is another program you might consider using. This program provides intensive services in the home at the same level of care you would get in a residential center.


Does the CARES Center have the best available expertise for children with my child’s specific needs and challenges?

In order to meet each child’s individual treatment needs, we

  • Conduct comprehensive assessments on each resident
  • Develop a master treatment plan with each resident and their guardian based on their individual strengths and needs
  • We provide a vast array of treatment services including:
    • Individual Therapy
    • Family Therapy
    • Psycho educational and Process Group Therapy
    • Recreational Therapy
    • Individualized Educational Services
    • Spiritual Enrichment Services
    • Adventure Based Therapy
  • Provide comprehensive discharge and aftercare planning
  • Educational services at CARES School


Is the program licensed and accredited? Has all staff had criminal background checks and have they been cleared through the state’s child abuse registry?

  • Canopy Children’s Solutions is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO).
  • Criminal background checks are performed before any employee is hired.
  • Employees also must be cleared through the state’s child abuse registry.


Are the techniques used by the program supported by research studies on children with similar needs?

  • CARES uses the Client Directed Outcome Inventory (CDOI) for direct feedback from the client to the therapist. This is a tool to allow the client to give constant feedback and to measure the therapeutic rapport between the therapist and the client.
  • Managing Aggressive Behavior (MAB) is a crisis management program that focuses on prevention while teaching the physical and non physical intervention skills that employees need to keep staff and clients safe.
  • Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) is an advanced, interactive therapeutic strategy for turning crisis situations into learning opportunities for children and youth with chronic patterns of self-defeating behaviors. This is a nationally recognized, professional training and certification program sponsored by the Life Space Crisis Intervention Institute of Hagerstown, Maryland.


Does the program make me feel like my opinion and ideas are important? Does the program involve me in decisions about my child?

Your opinion and ideas about the treatment of your child are very important to us. We want to hear from you about what has worked or has not worked in the past with your child. You are a very important member of your child’s Treatment Team that meets after 14 days then monthly. This is your opportunity to meet with everyone that is involved in your child’s treatment and ask questions and give your opinion on your child’s progress. Your attendance at these meetings is crucial. You will always be consulted about any decisions that are made concerning your child. Your input is necessary and important to help us give your child the skills they needs to cope with life.


Does the program empower youth to make choices and decisions while they are in residential care? Does it help them plan for their own long term goals?

Your child is given the opportunity to discuss with their therapist and resident advisors the behaviors that they would like to work on while in treatment. They are able to set their own goals for what they wish to accomplish. Also, if your child shows an interest in any long term goals, i.e., getting their GED, a career they are interested in, the staff will help them do research to see what steps they need to take to accomplish their goals.


Does the program build children up, not break them down?

Children are rewarded for positive behavior with verbal praise and, at times, tangible rewards. Any consequences that are given are to help your child make a better choice and learn from their mistakes rather than punishing them.


Does the program communicate well with me and have a clear plan to consult me about important questions and decisions?

When your child is admitted, you will meet with the therapist, nurse, school representative and family partner. You will be given phone numbers for all staff that is involved in your child’s treatment so that you will be able to reach them directly. You will meet with your child’s therapist twice monthly for family therapy sessions. You will also be able to receive nightly phone calls from your child. Attendance at your child’s Treatment Team meetings is essential for you to have input into your child’s treatment. You will be consulted about any important questions regarding your child and any treatment decisions. Please feel free to call staff at any time to check on your child’s progress.


Does the program consider the strengths of our family and help us discover and build on our strengths and those of our child?

The therapists at CARES always consider the strengths of the family in working with the family and child. The purpose of family therapy is to help you discover these strengths (if you are not already aware of them) and use them to help your family and your child.


Are emergency safety interventions (e.g., restraints or seclusions) used only when a child is truly endangering him/herself or others? Is the staff trained to reduce the need for emergency safety interventions? Do they apply restraints safely, and avoid the use of seclusion where possible?

  • There are times when a child’s behavior may not respond to less restrictive interventions and therefore special procedures are used to assist the child in calming down to ensure the safety of the child and those around them.
  • All special procedures are ordered by a physician and are implemented by staff that have been trained to do so. A registered nurse does a face to face assessment of your child at the beginning of any emergency safety intervention. Our staff goes through extensive training in Managing Aggressive Behavior (MAB) as well as training on implementing/documenting emergency safety interventions.
  • The use of a physical restraint would only be considered after nonphysical and less restrictive interventions have been attempted and have been determined to be unsafe and ineffective. Every effort is made to maintain the client’s safety and dignity and to prevent injury to the client or staff.
  • We are committed to prevent, reduce and eliminate emergency safety interventions.
  • Mechanical restraint has not been used by this agency for over a decade.
  • Staff trained in Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) are able to turn crises into opportunities for learning.


Will all of the people working with my child meet or speak regularly with me (and my child if he or she is old enough) as a team to talk about my child’s plan and how things are working?

Your child will have their first Child and Family Team meeting 14 days after admission. Their next meeting will be held at 30 days and thereafter each 30 days. The following people from CARES may be members of your child’s Child and Family Team:

  • The Child (if old enough)
  • The Guardian
  • Physician
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered Nurse
  • Therapist
  • Case Manager
  • Recreation Therapist
  • Educational staff member
  • Resident Advisor
  • Family Partner

Family members are also encouraged to identify other people in their community who they want to be part of the team. This could be extended family members, a neighbor, a church leader, or any other person identified by the child and/or guardian who offers support in the community for the family.


Does the program offer my child appropriate educational opportunities while they are in care?

The residential program includes a school that is accredited by the Mississippi Department of Education. General and special education services are provided by appropriately licensed teachers and support personnel. Educational assessments are completed and students can receive special educational services if they are determined to be eligible.

What steps will be taken to be sure my child has a smooth transition back to a school in the community afterwards?

The Child and Family Team works with the school to help the student transition back to their home school. Records are given to the parents upon discharge and forwarded to the school when the students withdraws. Teachers and/or support staff participate in meetings held in the home schools in person or by phone, if necessary. The school staff is eager to work with the home school by answering questions and forwarding pertinent information to the home school by request.


How is the program going to support us when our child comes home? Does the program keep children involved in community activities even when they are in care? Does the program prepare adolescents to live independently?

You will be offered aftercare services through Mississippi Youth Programs Around the Clock (MYPAC), Canopy’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic and/or your private physician. Children have volunteer opportunities while they are at CARES to help them understand the importance of giving back to their community.


Does the program understand that many children have experienced overwhelming stress and/or trauma? Does the program avoid situations that can re-traumatize children?

Although each child who comes to CARES is unique, we recognize that the vast majority of our clients have had some sort of trauma in their young lives. All members of the Treatment Team are given specialized training and yearly continuing education in methods to identify the underlying issues and to help the child identify and work through these issues. Special care is taken to help the child feel safe at all times and to prevent any situation that recreates past stressors.


Does the program work with my child’s doctors and others to learn their medication history prior to admission? Is the program using medications safely and appropriately?

Information about what medications your child is currently on is collected at the time of admission and reviewed by our psychiatrists. Any change in medication is made carefully and with parental consent. Licensed nurses administer all medications.


Does the program track whether my child is making progress towards their goals and make changes when needed? Can the program clearly describe what the criteria are for discharge? What will happen if there is a disagreement about my child’s readiness for discharge?

Your child’s progress is tracked at the monthly Child and Family Team meeting. The discharge criteria are listed in the child’s treatment plan. If there is a disagreement about your child’s readiness at discharge, your point of view will certainly be taken into consideration. We know you are the expert when it comes to your child.

Additional information can be found by visiting the Child Mind Institute.