June 2011 Dear Parents and Caregivers, Welcome to the Child and Family Institute (CFI) Outpatient Department

(OPD) at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals. We are here to help your child or teenager and your family with their emotional and social wellness. Our many programs are here to provide the support and treatment that can make a positive difference in your child’s development. We are looking forward to working with you as partners in helping your child and family! This letter provides some basic information about our clinic. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask the clinician assigned to your child, or any of our staff members. They will be happy to speak with you. We offer the following kinds of services:
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School and Community Based Satellite Clinics Referrals to case management Family Advocacy

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Here are some frequently asked questions about our mental health services for young people. Please note that all of our services can be provided in English or Spanish. 1) How will you evaluate my child? Your first meetings at CFI will be part of an intake evaluation, which can be up to three sessions. An interviewer will meet with you and with your child to talk about the reasons why you are seeking care. You and your child may fill out assessment forms on paper or on the computer. With your permission, the clinician may also gather information from other sources including your child’s school and health care provider. All of this information is used to make a plan for helping your child to feel better and do his or her best at home, at school and in the community. The clinician will talk with you about suggestions for the kinds of treatment that might be most helpful.

Intake evaluations Individual psychotherapy Psychopharmacology (medication treatment) Crisis Services Family therapy Parent-Infant therapy Group therapy Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Art Therapy Trauma treatment and research Animal Assisted (Pet) Therapy Neuropsychological testing Substance Abuse and treatment Parenting groups Home visits prevention

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2) Who will have access to
information about my child and family? All of the information we obtain about your child and family is strictly confidential. We are not permitted to share medical information with anyone unless we have your consent or unless there is some emergency or to provide continuity of care

3) What kinds of practitioners will
we see at CFI?

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The staff at the Child and Family Institute Outpatient Department are psychologists, social workers, art therapists, nurse practitioners, a family advocate, social work assistants, clinicians-in-training and patient service representatives. St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center is a teaching hospital affiliated with the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and we are widely recognized as one of the premium training sites for mental health clinicians. Our clinicians have specialized training in the areas of substance abuse/addiction, cognitive behavioral evidence-based treatments for depression, anxiety, trauma and disruptive behavior disorders; psychodynamic/insight-oriented therapy; play therapy; family therapy and parent-infant relational therapies.

We believe that parents are the experts when it comes to their children and teenagers. Your input and collaboration is essential to the work we do at the CFI OPD. Each month you will have a meeting with your child’s clinician to talk about progress. More frequent meetings will be recommended when necessary and we welcome you to request meetings whenever you wish. At the beginning of treatment and then every three months a treatment plan is written along with you to review past goals and create new ones. Parents/guardians must sign every quarterly treatment plan in session with their child’s primary clinician.

7) What should I do if my child is
in crisis? If the crisis takes place during clinic hours (8 AM to 7 PM Monday to Thursday and 8 AM to 6 PM on Fridays) you can contact your child’s primary clinician or can call his or her psychiatrist. If no one is available by phone please contact the St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) at (212) 523-3347 and speak to the psychiatrist on-call. After business hours please contact the CPEP as well. If you are unable to contact someone by phone, you should accompany your child to the CPEP or the nearest Emergency Room or contact 911 if you cannot travel safely. Here are some ways that you can help us to best serve your family:

4) Individual therapy was
recommended for my child. How often will he meet with his clinician? You will be given an appointment time that will be yours each week. This time will be set aside only for you and your family. Most appointments last from 30 minutes to one hour. Each session builds upon the last one and your child will learn more by having regular, uninterrupted weekly contact with his or her clinician. Also, weekly sessions will allow you to build a relationship with your child’s treatment provider.

5) Medication was recommended
as part of my child’s treatment. How often will she be seen for medication management? The answer to this question depends upon the prescribing clinician’s evaluation of your child’s current needs. Initially meetings may be held on a weekly or biweekly basis for the first month in order to make sure that any medication that has been prescribed is being well tolerated. Once a medication regime is established meetings can be less frequent and are usually held a minimum of one time per month. 6) How can I participate in my child’s treatment?

Keep us updated on changes of your phone number, address or insurance. We want to be able to stay in regular contact with you. Attend annual visits to the pediatrician to make sure your child is in good physical health. All of our programs require that children have an updated physical exam every year. Make your child’s appointments a regular part of your week. Consistent attendance at weekly sessions is what makes treatment effective.


If your child is 12 years old or under (or if it is determined he or she is older and in need of an escort), escort him or her to sessions or have another adult escort him or her. Please do not leave the building while your child is in his or her session, in case there is an emergency or if your child’s clinician would like to speak to you. Please keep in mind our policy for missed appointments. It is as follows: if two sessions are missed within a two month period, the case will be reviewed and considered for closing. The clinician may create an attendance agreement with the family after the second missed session. If a third session is missed within the next month, the case will likely be closed.


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