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

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.


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."

Make a Referral

Contact the Sherburne County Children’s Mental Health Intake Worker at 763-765-4000 or 800-433-5239. The worker will:

  • Meet with the family to determine needs
  • Receive supporting documentation from the schools, hospitals, mental health professionals and other pertinent sources
  • Assist the family to obtain a current Diagnostic Assessment, if needed
  • Complete a functional assessment
  • Request approval for Rule 79 services from Mental Health Professional and supervisor.

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

Children’s Mental Health Services

If a child is determined to be eligible for Children’s Mental Health Services, the following services may be available:

  • Children’s Mental Health Case Management Services
  • Day Treatment
  • Foster Care
  • Hospitalization
  • In-Home Skills Training
  • In-Home Therapy
  • Outpatient Counseling
  • Personal Care Attendants (PCA)
  • Residential Treatment
  • Respite Care
  • Therapeutic Foster Care

Less restrictive options are always tried first.

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

Support Groups

National Alliance on Mental Illness


Parent Support Group

Sometimes the best resource for parents and caregivers of children with challenging behaviors are other parents and caregivers who are facing the same issues and challenges.

General Flyer

When: Third Monday of every month

From: 6:00 – 8:00pm

Where: Handke Center

1170 Main Street

Elk River, MN 55330

2022 Meeting Dates

*Dinner will be provided. Free child care is available during the meeting.

Questions and to RSVP please contact:

Sara Pundsack: 763-765-4371 or Email Sara