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Home » Supports & Services » Local Resources » Crisis Services

Crisis Services

PROGRAM NAME First Call for Children and Families
PROGRAM OVERVIEW First Call is the children’s crisis service for Chittenden County and the intake line for all of Howard Center’s Child, Youth, and Family Services (CYFS).  The Primary goal of First Call is to support children and families in crisis and to help them identify and access needed services.
WHO WE SERVE All children, adolescents, and families within Chittenden County are eligible for First Call services. Though First Call is geared toward children and adolescents and their families, our services may be extended beyond age 18 if a youth is active in the public education or children’s mental health system.  In certain situations, First Call will refer these youth to the Adult Crisis Services (488-6400).
  • The First Call team is based at Howard Center’s Child, Youth, and Family Services building at 1138 Pine Street in Burlington, however, our team is mobile and services are delivered throughout Chittenden County at various locations like homes, schools, police departments or Fletcher Allen.
  • First Call works to respond to every phone contact within 15 minutes and to arrive for an outreach, if one is necessary, within one hour.
  • Parents/guardians will be asked to consent for services.
WHAT SERVICES WE PROVIDE Prevention & Education
First Call can provide information, education, and support on a range of children’s mental health issues to individuals, families, and our school and community partners.

Telephone Support & Referral
First Call provides phone support and intervention and helps link people with services.

Crisis Outreach
First Call can do a crisis outreach anytime of day or night.  Crisis outreach may happen in locations throughoutChittendenCountythat are safe for all involved and convenient for the family.  A crisis outreach is when a First Call clinician meets with a child or family to talk about their problem, do an assessment and intervention, and help develop a plan to stabilize a crisis and address immediate and short term needs.

Crisis Case Management
First Call has a Crisis Case Manager (CCM) who provides short term case management to children and families with Medicaid Insurance.  The crisis case manager provides clinical assessment, goal setting, crisis planning and intervention, support, consultation, advocacy and referrals to longer term services when needed.

Crisis Respite
With selected availability, First Call can offer crisis respite to families who need a 1-2 hour break.

Safety Net
First Call clinicians can provide an urgent response for parents, caregivers and children at the time of a family arrest or other situation that leads to incarceration.

Critical Incident Response
The First Call team, as well as Howard Center’s Disaster Response Team, is available as a community resource in the wake of a tragedy involving a young person. The team can provide emergency on-site consultation services to schools, police, youth-serving agencies, and families following a suicide, intentional or accidental death or traumatic event involving/impacting a child or adolescent

HOW SERVICES ARE FUNDED There is no fee to schools, parents, children, or to insurance companies for First Call services.  Follow up services that First Call refers a child/family to may have a fee associated with them and/or may bill insurance.
HOW TO MAKE REFERRALS There are no “rules” for what defines a crisis.  Anyone with concerns about a child or adolescent may call First Call if they feel there is a crisis.The phone number for First Call is (802)488-7777.  If you need TTY access, dial 711 for relay service. Calls to First Call are answered 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year by a clinician or our answering service who will page a clinician immediately.
PRINTABLE PDF Two page printable description of First Call and its services:


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