Over the last several years, the Divisions of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities have examined the challenges and complexity of meeting the needs of children and adolescents with co-occurring developmental disabilities and emotional and/or substance abuse disorders. Because of the complexity of the issues related to co-occurring disorders, rarely can one system meet the need. In order to address this issue and improve the services for children and families across the spectrum, the Divisions developed a protocol, or a process, to help providers struggling with how to provide the most complete services for children and adolescents who fall into this category.

The protocol seeks to address several goals, including the following:

  • To assure that children/youth with co-occurring disorders receive the most complete service delivery available;
  • To assist families in accessing services from any DMH division as easily as possible;
  • To assure smooth transition between Divisions as the needs of a child/youth change; and
  • To assist the child/youth and their family with transition from child to adult services