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Child and Adolescent Service System Program

Child and Adolescent Service System Program

CASSP is an acronym for the Child and Adolescent Service System Program. CASSP helps children, adolescents and their families gain access to needed services. These services are planned collaboratively with the child/adolescent, their family, the child serving systems and other agencies.

What Are The Child Serving Systems?

  • Mental Health
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Child Welfare
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Drug and Alcohol
  • Education Services
  • Vocational Rehabilitation

Berks County CASSP Vision Statement

To assess, develop, improve, and evaluate a comprehensive, coordinated, and collaborative system of services for children, adolescents and their families with multi-system needs.

History of CASSP

A national study in 1982 found that two-thirds of all children with severe emotional disturbances were not receiving appropriate services. These children were "unclaimed" by the public agencies responsible to serve them, and there was little coordination among the various child-serving systems. To address this need, Congress appropriated funds in 1984 for CASSP, which was envisioned as a comprehensive mental health system of care for children, adolescents and their families.

Pennsylvania first received a federal CASSP grant in 1985 and began building a state and local infrastructure for a comprehensive system of care. In 1991, the CASSP system began in Berks County. The fundamental goal then and now is to facilitate the process of cross system collaboration and inclusion of families as full partners.

CASSP Core Principles

CASSP is based on a well-defined set of principles for services for children and adolescents with or at risk of developing severe emotional disorders and their families. These principles are summarized in six core statements.

Services meet the individual needs of the child, consider the child's family and community contexts, and are developmentally appropriate, strengths-based and child-specific.
Services recognize that the family is the primary support system for the child and participates as a full partner in all stages of the decision-making and treatment planning process.
Whenever possible, services are delivered in the child's home community, drawing on formal and informal resources to promote the child's successful participation in the community.
Services are planned in collaboration with all the child-serving systems involved in the child's life.
Services recognize and respect the behavior, ideas, attitudes, values, beliefs, customs, language, rituals, ceremonies and practices characteristic of the child's and family's ethnic group.
Services take place in settings that are the most appropriate and natural for the child and family and are the least restrictive and intrusive available to meet the needs of the child and family.

CASSP Coordinator

The Berks County CASSP Coordinator is supported by the Berks County MH/DD Program, Berks County HealthChoices, and The Council on Chemical Abuse. The CASSP Coordinator works out of the MH/DD Program office located at 633 Court Street, 8th Floor, Reading ,PA. The CASSP Coordinator serves as a focal point for establishing and maintaining a network of individuals, agencies, providers and community groups interested in improving services to children, adolescents and their families. The CASSP Coordinator can be contacted by calling the Berks County MH/DD Program at 610-478-3271.

CASSP Advisory Committee

The CASSP committee is comprised of family members, representatives from child serving systems and is representative of the community’s cultural diversity. The Committee meets four times a year and works to maintain and improve the CASSP system within Berks County. Meetings are open to anyone who is interested in services for children.


A Guide for Parents Seeking Mental Health Services for Children in Berks County

A Guide for Parents Seeking Mental Health Services for Children in Berks County (Spanish)