The Texas Youth Empowerment Services (YES) pilot program has officially launched and is enrolling participants in Travis and Bexar counties.
Up to 300 youth ages 3 to 18 with severe emotional disturbances, such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, within these counties can now get specialized home - and community-based mental health services.
YES is a Medicaid waiver program, which means it provides an array of services not normally available through Texas Medicaid. Each child gets an individual service plan designed with their YES case manager’s help. Examples of services include specialized therapies, respite care to give parents a temporary break, training for the parents, and one-time transition help so youth can start a new life with community support. In addition, participants also have access to regular Medicaid services, such as psychiatric treatment and mental health counseling.
The local mental health authorities in each county — Austin Travis County Integrated Care and Bexar County’s Center for Health Care Services — have signed on to the program and will offer the full array of services required by the waiver. The ultimate goal, according to Jodi Christianson at the Texas Department of State Health Services, is for clients to have a variety of providers to choose from in each county. Organizations interested in becoming a YES provider — for the full array of services or just for a single service — can get more information by reading the Notice of Open Enrollment.
“This program has evolved through the hard work of many individuals and agencies at both the state and local levels, but there’s still plenty to be done,” Christianson said. “We need to continue to work together to make the waiver a success and ultimately expand it to other areas of the state.”
Bexar County youth and families seeking help through YES can call 210-731-1300, ext. 259. In Travis County the number to call is 512-804-3191. A legal guardian’s consent is required.
To learn more about YES, including eligibility requirements, visit the YES waiver website.