PHCS News

Princeton House Behavioral Health in Hamilton Expands Children's Mental Health Services New, Intensive Program Helps Children Return to Local Schools

Nov 17, 2008
Responding to a growing need for children's mental health services in the Mercer County region, Princeton House Behavioral Health's Outpatient Site http://www.princetonhouse.org in Hamilton announced the opening today of a new program to provide children with serious mental, emotional and behavioral disorders the care they need close to home.


The program, "Advanced Solutions for Kids," is designed to help children age five through 12 who cannot function in the classroom make a successful return to their local schools. It has an established track record of success at Princeton House Behavioral Health's (PHBH) sites in North Brunswick and Cherry Hill.

"Today, more than ever, there is hope for young people with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. At the same time, families in the greater Mercer County region face a serious shortage of mental health services," said Madhurani Khare, MD, board certified child psychiatrist and Medical Director of PHBH - Hamilton. "Advanced Solutions for Kids responds to that need, providing family-driven, child-focused treatment close to home. We offer children in need of mental health services a pathway back to their local schools and communities."

The customized treatment plan begins with a "partial hospital" phase in which children spend six hours a day, five days a week, at the Hamilton site. Services include: a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation; individual therapy; group therapy; family counseling; and medication management and monitoring, when necessary.  Princeton House also provides home tutoring by certified teachers to help children keep up with their studies.

From there, children transition into an intensive outpatient program that paves the way for a full-time return to school. During this phase, children attend their schools for a half day, and spend three hours a day at the Hamilton site, up to five days a week.  Depending on their needs, some children enter the intensive outpatient program directly without the partial hospital phase.

Close communication with the child's school helps ensure coordination of mental health and school services, increasing chances of a successful return to the classroom.

The number of young people and their families who are affected by mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders is significant. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that as many as one in five children and adolescents may have an identifiable mental health disorder requiring treatment.

Many schools struggle with children who have serious emotional, psychological and behavioral problems.  Some try managing them within the district: assigning extra teachers to the classroom, classifying children for special education programs and referring them for outpatient counseling.  In other instances, such children are placed at residential facilities often far from their homes, which creates a burden on their families.

Advanced Solutions for Kids can provide a new option - an intensive program close to home that offers a pathway back to a child's local school.

"We're providing a truly therapeutic environment for children so that they will be able to learn, interact socially with other children and be active, healthy kids," said Cynthia Metterle, LPN, Site Director of PHBH-Hamilton.

Families interested in learning more about Advanced Solutions for Kids can call 609.688.2766.