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Child and Family Mental Health Services

The Department of Social Work’s Child and Family Therapy Team supports families through a variety of evidence based therapeutic treatment modalities, workshops, consultation services and educational opportunities. These services are designed to support families, improve parent-child relationships and teach skills to cope with stress and trauma.

The Child and Family Therapy Team is comprised of licensed mental health professionals who are trained in evidence-based treatment modalities. These treatments are successful in supporting children and families who have experienced a variety of stressors and traumatic events. The Child and Family Therapy Team is embedded in various outpatient clinics throughout Children’s Mercy.

Child and Family Mental Health services can be found within the following clinics:


The following treatment modalities are utilized by the Child and Family Therapy Team:

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

TF-CBT is a short-term (approximately 12-20 sessions) treatment addressing the unique needs of children ages 5-17 with post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, behavior problems and other difficulties related to traumatic life experiences. TF-CBT can be beneficial for children who have experienced a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events. The goal of TF-CBT is to reduce the impact of trauma and teach life-long coping skills. Session time is spent meeting individually with children, their caregiver, as well as parent-child sessions.

Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)

CPP is a therapeutic modality typically between 20-50 sessions for children between the ages of 2-5 and their caregivers who have experienced a traumatic event that is impacting the child's development and functioning. CPP aims to support family strengths and the relationship between child and caregiver. Session time is spent with child and caregiver working together with the provider.

General Family Therapy

Family Therapy is a treatment for parents and caregivers who are experiencing family stress due to their child’s chronic medical, behavioral and/or mental health conditions. This can include feelings of exhaustion and frustration, communication struggles, parenting challenges and conflict between parents. This family stress can exacerbate the child’s medical, behavioral and/or mental health conditions, creating an unhealthy cycle for the family. Typically, Family Therapy is provided to caregivers and patient’s participation is limited.

Stabilization and Family Empowerment (SAFE)

SAFE is a short-term (approximately 1-8 sessions) treatment for parents/caregivers whose children have experienced a traumatic event. When children experience trauma, other family members are often impacted as well. Parents and caregivers can experience increased stress and feelings of being overwhelmed, and it can be difficult to call upon existing support systems. Children look to their parents for guidance, security and answers to many questions. Many times, parents have questions themselves. Research demonstrates that providing support to parents and caregivers can improve parental coping, which in turn improves the child’s functioning and long-term outcomes. SAFE is offered via Telehealth or face-to-face.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

PCIT is a short-term (approximately 16-20 sessions) treatment designed for children ages 2-6 (prior to the child’s 7th birthday) who are exhibiting some of these behavior problems: aggression, non-compliance, defying adults, attention and focus related problems, and excessive temper tantrums. PCIT teaches caregivers specific behavior management techniques as they play with their child, with the focus on improving the caregiver relationship while teaching caregivers effective child management skills. PCIT is fun for both the caregiver and the child. PCIT services are provided to families in both Spanish and English.

Child-Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) Workshops

CARE Workshops were developed for parents and caregivers of children ages 2-12 who have experienced stressful or traumatic events in their lives, children with behavior problems or parents who want to strengthen their relationship with their child. The goal of CARE is to strengthen the adult-child relationship and increase positive behaviors in children. These workshops are completely free of charge, for adults only and are held in two sessions that are fun and interactive. CARE Workshops are offered throughout the year at different times and at a variety of locations in the Kansas City metro area.

Sign up for a CARE Workshop

How to get started

  1. Fill out the new patient referral form.  

  2. Once you have completed the form a representative from the Children’s Mercy Team will review your information and will contact you


    you can call 816-234-3674 and select “new patient” to begin the process.