Children's Mental Health

It is the goal of Sherburne County Health and Human Services to ensure effective and accessible mental health services and supports for children and families in our area. Health and Human Services staff works together with many public and private partners across the County so that children and youth with mental health needs can develop and function as fully as possible in all areas of their lives.

Mental health matters at every stage of life and requires an integrated continuum of services ranging from prevention to recovery. Sherburne County is committed to creating consistent quality, access and accountability for these services through comprehensive diagnostic assessments and evidence-based treatments that consider children’s characteristics, circumstances and culture. These efforts will result in better outcomes and reduce health care disparities among children.

Children’s Mental Health Services are voluntary services.

Accessing Services/Referral Process

You, or a representative who can speak on your behalf, can request Children’s Mental Health Case Management by completing and submitting the HHS Service Request Form or by calling the Sherburne County Intake Line at 763-765-4000 and choosing option 3.  Professionals can also make referrals through one of these two options.

The Children's Mental Health social worker will:

  • Meet with the family to determine needs
  • Receive supporting documentation from schools, hospitals, mental health professionals, and other pertinent sources

Earlier interventions may reduce the need for more instrusive and expensive interventions later.  Service availability is dpendent upon the needs of the child.  In all cases, third party reimbursement is sought before the county funds are utilized.


To be eligible for Rule 79 Children’s Mental Health Services, a child must meet the criteria for "Child with severe emotional disturbance", Minnesota Statute 245.4871 Subdivision 6.

For purposes of eligibility for case management and family community support services, "child with severe emotional disturbance" means a child who has an emotional disturbance and who meets one of the following criteria:

  1. The child has been admitted within the last three years or is at risk of being admitted to inpatient treatment or residential treatment for an emotional disturbance; or
  2. The child is a Minnesota resident and is receiving inpatient treatment or residential treatment for an emotional disturbance through the interstate compact; or
  3. The child has one of the following as determined by a mental health professional
    1. Psychosis or a clinical depression
    2. Risk of harming self or others as a result of an emotional disturbance
    3. Psychopathological symptoms as a result of being a victim of physical or sexual abuse or of psychic trauma within the past year
  4. The child, as a result of an emotional disturbance, has significantly impaired home, school, or community functioning that has lasted at least one year or that, in the written opinion of a mental health professional, presents substantial risk of lasting at least one year. The term "child with severe emotional disturbance" shall be used only for purposes of county eligibility determinations. In all other written and oral communications, case managers, mental health professionals, mental health practitioners, and all other providers of mental health service shall use the term "child eligible for mental health case management" in place of "child with severe emotional disturbance."

Children’s Mental Health Services

If a child is determined to be eligible, Children’s Mental Health social workers can assist families in navigating and coordinating mental health services such as: individual therapy; group therapy; in-home therapy or skills training; medication management/child psychiatry; Occupational Therapy (OT); Special Education services in school and respite care.  

Consideration of day treatment, intensive outpatient and/or partial hospitalization services also provided depending on the needs of the child.  Children's Mental Health social workers can assist with accessing residential treatment when necessary for a child's safety.  Least restrictive options are always explored first.  

Children's Mental Health social workers can also help families with developing their own safety network of people who love their child and want to play a role in their child’s life so that when future crises arise, the network can be mobilized into action and a plan is in place to respond to the current needs.  

Children's Mental Health services are intended to be short term to assist families that are struggling due to a child's mental health needs get connected to needed services and supports.

Starting & Getting Help

Contact more than one person: If you can’t get help from one person, try another!

  • Classroom Teacher 
  • County Social Worker
  • Family Physician 
  • Local Mental Health Agency
  • Pediatrician
  • Public Health  
  • Religious Leader
  • School Administrator
  • School Social Worker

Additional Resources

Mental Health Guide

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - Minnesota