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C.A.R.E.S. Program

Children Really Are Extra Special

Our CARES program at St. Francis Medical Center, offers children ages 3-21 with an opportunity to improve their quality of life by identifying severe emotional, behavioral, or psychiatric needs where they exist and addressing through the best possible treatment options. Our mission is to provide high quality mental health diagnosis and intensive compassionate treatment to children who do not require inpatient care but who cannot be managed by community resources alone as their emotional and behavioral difficulties impede their ability to function successfully in a social environment.

CARES is open year round, Monday through Friday, and offers two levels of care to best serve children and their families:

  • Full Day, Acute Partial hospitalization (children ages 5-14) Therapeutic Nursery (children ages 3-4) Children attend the program during typical school hours and receive a complement of intensive therapeutic and academic services. They will participate in daily group therapy, on topics such as: self-esteem, anger management, identifying feelings, social skills, improving concentration, family dynamics, team building, etc. Each child will also be assigned a licensed clinician who will provide individual and family therapy once a week. During the school year, children will receive one-to-one support from licensed teachers to complete the school work provided by their school. In most cases, door-to-door transportation and meals are provided for our children.
  • Outpatient (children ages 5-21) Individuals meet with a therapist approximately once a week for individual and/or family therapy to help identify and resolve issues related to home, school, and social situations. Group therapy, monthly medication management (as needed), and psychiatric evaluations with a psychiatrist and or advanced practice nurse are also available.

A child may benefit from CARES if he/she:

  • Struggles with keeping focus and attention with or without hyperactivity
  • Lacks self-confidence and has poor image of self
  • Struggles with anxiety disorders such as social or school phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder
  • Is suspected of having mood disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, or dysthymia
  • Presents with oppositional defiant behaviors- talks back to adults; has little to no respect for authority or property
  • Presents with aggression or abusive behaviors- argues, fights, blames others, gets in trouble at school often
  • Presents with emotional problems resulting from abuse, violence, divorce, separation, step-parenting, substance abuse, death, abandonment or other life stressors
  • Has suicidal thought or self-abusive behavior

The Staff at the CARES Program is a multidisciplinary team, consisting of bachelor and master level counselors, licensed clinicians, academic instructors, a registered nurse, an advanced practice nurse, and a psychiatrist. Our team is committed to providing the children and their families, the tools they need to cope, and to manage the challenges they are facing in their lives.


From Our Kids...

From Our Families...
“My son’s therapist knew how to speak w/ him and get him back on track if he was upset or had a bad day!”

“CARES is a very good program I would recommend them to any parent with a trouble child. Thank God for CARES... everyone was kind and caring, I can’t leave out anyone, they are all special. Thank you!”

“The CARES program is amazing, I had children come through, the staff are extremely helpful, friendly, and caring. You always feel fully involved in the treatment plan.”

“I would recommend CARES to other people I am very thankful that this program exists and were able to treat my son.

“I want to thank the CARES program and all staff for making my child and I feel like part of the CARES family.”

“Staff was perfect! Welcome me and my son with open arms. Gave me a lot of information on ADHD & PDD.”

“Staff really helped my child learn to control his anger as well as how to speak to and cope around others.”

“We all had good experiences, and I love this program. It really help me. They were very helpful understanding and keep me motivated.”

How to Get Started

Children can be referred by their school, guidance counselor, nurse, child study team, parents, pediatricians, other health care providers, or public agencies, such as the Family Court System, and Department of Child Protection and Permanency (formally known as DYFS). Hospital inpatient units may use the program as a step down to less acute services, and outpatient mental health programs may use the program as a step up to more intense and comprehensive services.  

To make a referral or for more information, please call our main line (609) 599-6430 or (609) 599-6525 (for Spanish-speaking)

Additional Contact Information:

Michele Czechowski, Program Director (609) 599-6436
Dr. Suzzane Lind, Medical Director (609) 599-6443 

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