Chain of Command: Navigating Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health Crucial Contacts

Jacob’s Law; by now most families have heard about Jacob’s Law, they are aware of the behavioral health timeline requirements which are:

• No more than to 72 hours for rapid response
• No more than 7 calendar days for an assessment
• No more than 21 calendar days for services to initiate.
• Additionally families can secure their own provider if the service is not initiated within 21 days.

What they still struggle with is knowing what to do or who to call when a service is not provided within the timeline required by law.

Plan now. My first tip is to focus on prevention, arm yourself with the knowledge needed to advocate for your child’s needs. They are after all, entitled to these services. Here are my top 6 picks:

1. Read the chaptered version of Jacob’s Law
2. Attend a free Jacob’s Law Training
3. Ensure your CFT is being followed to fidelity. Click here to read how a CFT should be conducted and to better understanding Safety Planning and Crisis Planning.
4. Become familiar with both Medical and Behavioral health timelines as well as Higher Level of Care timelines.
5. Familiarize yourself with all the direct support and specialty providers that are available to your child through your RBHA. Identify 3 or 4 that you feel would best meet your child’s needs and discuss them at your next CFT. Here’s an example of services offered by MMIC.
6. File a Grievance (formal complaint) when service providers do not follow the law. AHCCCS has contracts with the health plans. The health plans as well as their contractors must follow AHCCCS policy and the law. As a reminder, Wait-Lists are prohibited. If a provider fails to follow the law or policy it is imperative that you file a grievance. Administrative actions may include sanctions, mandate corrective action plan and notice of concern.

For a child or family experiencing a crisis situation, please remember that immediate stabilization takes precedence over all other assessment and planning activities. Crisis intervention services are identified and secured. Family support, respite, or in-home services that may assist in crisis stabilization are identified and secured in a timely manner to ensure the child and family’s safety and well-being. These crisis situations are considered Urgent and appointments and services are to be provided as expeditiously as the child’s health condition requires but no later than 24 hours from identification of need. The caregiver should be requesting an emergency/urgent CFT and once intervention services are secured the family should re-evaluate the Crisis or Service Plan.

So let’s say that you have asked for an assessment or a service and timelines have expired. Let’s say that you have called your High Needs Case Manager but services are not being initiated within the timelines identified by law. Let’s say there is a service given but you do not feel that it is meeting your child’s needs and you don’t feel heard, what next? Below are a few suggestions:

1. When assistance is needed with a foster child, call the Dedicated Foster Care Hotline
2. If your child is in crisis call the Crisis Line
3. Contact your case manager and request a CFT and for urgent needs, request an Emergency CFT (must occur within a day)
4. If timelines are about to expire or have expired contact your assigned RBHA Children’s Liaison. This position was created to assist kinship, foster and adoptive families. They are happy to help.
5. When a service is not provided in time file a Grievance at or you may submit concerns about quality of care at
6. If a timeline has expired exercise your right to secure your own provider by notifying the RBHA Children’s Liaison as well as AHCCCS.
7. Contact the Foster Care Community Liaison at AHCCCS. This position was created to assist kinship, foster and adoptive caregivers in need of assistance.

ASA Now’s mission is to “support and strengthen the most vulnerable population” by empowering them with the education, support and skills necessary to be successful in all areas of life. They offer life skills, tutoring, extra-curricular activities, food boxes, social connections, information and trainings on how to receive behavioral and medical services, and much more. ASA Now is “committed to ensure that all families who have been touched by foster care succeed.” Prevention is at the forefront of their purpose, and this fall they will open the doors to Jacob’s Mission Community Center in Mesa, AZ. After school tutoring, life and trade skills, extra-curricular activities, sports, support groups, equine and much more will soon be available to families in need. To learn more or to volunteer visit them at

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