Program Spotlight: Therapeutic Behavioral Services | Uplift Family Services

Program Spotlight: Therapeutic Behavioral Services

Therapeutic Behavioral Services are available for eligible children who need short-term behavioral support in addition to any other mental health services they are receiving. The goal is to help children avoid being placed in a higher level of care such as a residential treatment facility or to help children make a successful move to a lower level of care such as returning home after residential treatment. Uplift Family Services currently offers this program in the Bay Area, the Inland Empire, and our Capital region.

The History of Therapeutic Behavioral Services

Therapeutic Behavioral Services was born out of lawsuit in which a young foster child, “Emily Q”, was petitioning for the Medi-cal program to cover the in-home behavioral supports and mental health treatment needed for her to be released from psychiatric hospitalization. This resulted in the creation of an entirely new mental health service for children and youth, called Therapeutic Behavioral Services, or “TBS”, and remains available specifically for youth who are at risk of losing their home placement, specifically those who are experiencing psychiatric hospitalizations.

Program Focus

The Santa Clara County TBS Program focuses our work intensively in the home and targets natural moments in the home during interactions with the child and caregivers. We love to be there at times when families are together and when they are doing their normal routine. We also integrate creative activities and exercises to build a child’s abilities to use behavioral skills and talk with parents about how they can fine-tune behavioral interventions to be effective.

An example of a TBS visit is a behavior specialist coming during bedtime and working with parents on how they give prompts, fine tuning a bedtime to reduce conflicts, reminding children to use their frustration tolerance skills, and giving them praise and encouragement.

Our team is a unique set of individuals who are ready to “address the behaviors when they are happening”. We have a particular emphasis in taking a team-based approach – every family gets at least one clinician and one behavior specialist, and collaboration both within our team and with the primary mental health team is a huge focus of our program.

TBS teams also work collaboratively with “primary mental health providers”. Our work always complements and builds off the evidence-based work that is already in place and we coordinate with other providers monthly. We expect to have monthly child and family team meetings (CFTS) or CFT structured meetings with our staff to maintain an intensive approach.

New Developments & Growth

The most recent development in the TBS program is the addition of a TBS – Intellectual Delay (TBS-ID) program in 2016. This program acknowledges that work should go beyond the county-level effort and really uniquely adapts to meet the needs of youth and family within this population. This program takes the structures and service philosophies of TBS and adds a particular focus on youth with qualifying disorders for “Intellectual Delay”. All TBS staff work concurrently with youth in the TBS and TBS-ID program and have received training and supervision in how to individualize services for the different programs.

by Stephanie Hata
News from the Bay! internal newsletter
Adapted for external release