CeCe Mendoza, Kinship Center Clinic Director

Kinship Center announced it is launching Monterey County Mobile Crisis Response Team, a team of mental health professionals providing same-day crisis intervention to youth experiencing an immediate crisis. The program provides services to low-income and at-risk community members, as it is designed to help high-risk youth with Medi-Cal or no insurance.

“With our new mobile unit, we will be able to immediately go into schools, homes, youth centers, and other community locations while a youth is actively experiencing a crisis. We’re addressing an issue as it is actively unfolding and taking away logistics of scheduling appointments and working with insurance, allowing us to focus more attention on the most important issue at hand which is the mental health of the youth,” said CeCe Mendoza, Kinship Center Clinic Director.

The team has a 24-hour support line managed by a Kinship Center employee that youth and family can access seven days per week. A team consisting of at least two licensed clinicians will work with local community providers, youth and caregivers to provide the least restrictive interventions needed for each situation.

Crisis intervention services are provided in the home, school or community based on the current location and needs of the family, using therapeutic interventions along with crisis communication to engage the youth and family in a safety and risk assessment. The clinician work with the youth and family to complete a short-term safety plan and, if needed, develop a plan for immediate referral to emergency psychiatric services.

Kinship Center’s new mobile unit is unique because of how it is rooted in the community through its mobile nature and involvement of different community members in risk and safety assessments: “It is important that we include all members of a youth’s support systems in the follow-up safety plan to improve the mental health status of the youth. These stakeholders include guardians and family members, social workers, therapists, teachers, and psychiatrists,” said Mendoza.

Goals of the Mobile Crisis Response Team include suicide prevention, reduction of unnecessary psychiatric hospitalizations, decreased placement changes for children not living with their biological parents, decreased police involvement and an assessment of a youth’s mental health needs. These goals will be achieved through risk and safety assessment, crisis intervention, follow-up services, collaboration with existing treatment team members, and help for youth and families in need of further mental health services.

Kinship Center is currently hiring for the response team. Open positions can be found by going to the careers section of the Seneca Family of Agencies website by clicking here. Kinship Center hopes to officially launch the program by March 1, 2020.

Every year, Kinship Center supports approximately 1,500 children and their families through adoption, foster care, relative caregiver, and mental health services. For more information regarding Kinship Center’s new Mobile Crisis Unit, other Kinship Center services, or to get involved, visit www.kinshipcenter.org or call (831) 455-9965.

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