In My Backyard
In My Backyard
Episode #23 - Intensive Field-Based Services or Residential Treatment?

Today’s episode discusses the pros and cons of offering our most troubled children intensive field-based treatment, over long-term residential placement or hospitalization.  

Current data tragically still shows us that only 25% of the children in the United States who need mental health care actually receive it; however in California real efforts have been made to create community-based programs that can effectively treat our most troubled children without the need for residential care. In 2004, California voters approved Proposition 63, which was signed into law as the Mental Health Services Act, or MHSA. The MHSA levied a 1 percent tax on all personal incomes over $1 million, resulting in a substantial investment in mental health for California residents. The intent of the act was to address the urgent need for expanding accessible, recovery-based, community mental health services. This episode will focus on one aspect of the act that allocates funding for intensive and comprehensive field-based care, known statewide as Community Services and Supports, or CSS.  

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, these intensive field-based services are the “signature programs of the (state’s) 2004 Mental Health Services Act and a foundational program for an effective community based mental health system.” Intensive field-based programs have been established across the state, with the core mission of doing “whatever it takes” to maintain clients in the community and help lead them to a path of wellness. These programs offer very intensive mental health, psychiatry and case management services in the community.  

Today Tricia speaks with Vanessa Ayala, an Associate Clinical Social Worker at The Guidance Center’s Compton Clinic. She is a clinician in the intensive services program and shares her knowledge about treatment for these very high need children and families. 

In My Backyard is brought to you by The Guidance Center, a children’s mental health agency in Long Beach, CA. In My Backyard is produced by Tricia Costales and Matthew Murray. Thank you to Jay Vincent B for original music. All other music licensed through SoundStripe. Thank you to our listeners and supporters.

Please visit or text HOPE to 562-262-5689 to make a one-time donation or join our Hope and Healing Club to become a monthly donor today. And subscribe to In My Backyard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.