Short-Term Crisis Stabilization for Children and Adolescents

Short-Term Stabilization for Children and Adolescents Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit (CCSU)
Fort Fairfield and Calais, Maine

What is a crisis?

A crisis can happen to a child or adolescent at anytime when he/she is feeling overwhelmed by his/her own feelings or when the demands in his/her life surpass their ability to cope. A crisis may occur in response to a recent traumatic event or may result from an accumulation of stressors over time. A crisis can involve the feelings of fear, loss, depression, or hopelessness, and intense behavioral responses including confusing thoughts about harming oneself or another person. A crisis may also include a child or adolescent being at risk of being placed outside of their home, family, or community in a psychiatric, residential, or correctional facility due to their current unsafe behavior or choices.


AMHC’s Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit is a 6 single-bed facility designed to provide help to children and adolescents ages 3-17 and their families in crisis. The program’s goal is to help youth and families stabilize their situation and return to pre-crisis levels of functioning. During their short-term stay, youth will participate in individual, group, and/or family counseling. An individualized treatment plan will be developed with the youth and their family during the admission process that will address and problem-solve around the issue(s) that may have contributed to the current crisis. CCSU counselors engage with the youth or family’s current providers, as well as provide information and referrals to other programs and resources available. The secondary goal of the CCSU is to assist the youth and/or their families in accessing additional support services that will continue to help the child or adolescent in maintaining a pre-crisis level of functioning within their home or community setting.


The Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit accepts children or adolescents, male or female, ages 3-17. Eligibility requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • The youth's parent(s), guardian, or custodian must consent to the admission and agree to participate in the youth’s treatment as outlined in the individualized treatment plan. 
  • The youth has a (or qualifies for) a DSM-IV Diagnosis mental health diagnosis.
    (A clinical assessment will also be provided while client is at the CCSU) 
  • The youth is at-risk of being placed outside of the home or community (i.e., respite, inpatient psychiatric facility, residential treatment facility, correctional facility, etc.) due to suicidal and/or homicidal ideation, aggression/agitation, disruptive behavior, grief and loss, or other emotionally-based issues resulting in significant impairment in the youth’s and/or the family’s ability to function. 
  • The youth is unable to be maintained safely in their current environment due to safety concerns, aggression, or other risky/unsafe behavior. 
  • A discharge plan is in place already or will potentially be determined after the youth/family needs are appropriately assessed during the CCSU admission. 

Making a referral

The CCSU accepts direct referrals from anyone - parents, guardians, relatives or family friends, schools, providers, and doctors/hospitals, etc - however the parent/guardian of the client needs to be in support of the referral/admission to the CCSU. Parents and/or guardians play a necessary role in the assessment, treatment, and discharge planning process and are expected to be able to participate in the client’s treatment as needed. 


Tips on How to Make a Good CCSU Referral

AMHC’s Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit (CCSU) is firmly committed to providing the highest level of service; as such we offer the following tips on what information we need from you to speed up the time it takes during the referral process. 

When you call the CCSU to make a referral, please be ready with the following information:

  • Your full name, where you are calling from, and a phone and fax number where we can easily reach you. 
  • The client’s complete name, first, middle and last 
  • The client’s age and date of birth 
  • If you are a provider, relative, or friend calling- the guardian’s name and contact information 
  • The reason for the referral – current behavior/mood(s), and any information you have regarding what may have led up to/contributed to the current crisis, stressors that the client and/or family are presently experiencing, etc 
  • Is the client currently aggressive, suicidal, or homicidal? 
  • Relevant history – How long has the client been acting/feeling this way? Is there a history of physical/verbal aggression, or substance abuse, any history of physical/emotional/sexual abuse? 
  • Current medications and known allergies (if any) 
  • Past and present mental health treatment history (if any) 

CCSU counselors are available for youth or families to access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When you call, a CCSU counselor will walk you through the referral process and answer any questions you may have about our service. 

For more information or to make a referral, please feel free to call the CCSU directly:

Contact Information

Aroostook County Unit:
Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit (CCSU)
8 Wesleyan St.
Fort Fairfield, ME 04742
Phone: 207-473-9285
Fax: 207-473-9403

Washington County Unit:
Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit (CCSU)
127 Palmer Street
Calais, Maine 04619
Phone: 207-454-0775
Fax: 207-454-0232