What is WISe?

WISe is a voluntary service that takes a team approach to meeting your child’s needs. It provides intensive mental health services to support your child and helps your family reach your goals.

The focus of WISe is:

  • To provide intensive mental health services designed to assist your child and your family in achieving wellness, safety, and to strengthen relationships within your community.

  • To develop an individualized care plan, based on strengths and needs that respect your family culture, values, norms, and preferences. Your child and family guide and drive the plan using a team. Team members include natural supports (such as family, friends, and religious leaders) and the professionals who work with your family (such as counselors, schools, CPS, and probation officers).

  • To offer services and supports in locations and at times that work best for your child and family (including in your house or a public location of choice, and on evenings or weekends).

  • To identify or provide resources and supports to your child and family.

  • To provide help during a time of crisis. You have access to crisis services for your child any time of the day, 365 days a year. Your child will receive services from individuals who know your child and family’s needs and circumstances, as well as their current crisis plan. Whenever necessary, this includes face-to-face interventions at the location where the crisis occurs.



Want to get involved?

Your voice can help improve services for children and youth. Family, Youth, System Partner Round Tables (FYSPRTs) are an important part of a governance structure that is working to make improvements to the children’s behavioral health system, including WISe.

Learn more here: FYSPRT.com

Who can receive WISe?

WISe is available to Medicaid eligible children/youth from birth to age 21 that meet Access to Care Standards (standards used by mental health agencies to get the right level of services to individuals).

When might it be helpful for me to access WISe?

You can refer your child for a WISe screen at any time. Parents can initiate treatment, but after age 13, a child must consent to services. You should consider referring your child for a WISe screening if he/she is:

  • A frequent user of the crisis line or emergency rooms, due to concerns about your child’s mental health.

  • Experiencing hard to understand behaviors (such as running away or frequent arrests that are due to mental health) that are challenging to you, other caregivers, or therapist/clinician, and traditional services alone are not helping.

  • Displaying an elevated risk of harm to themselves or others. • In need of a more intensive and individualized approach to treatment.

  • In need of a more flexible and engaging approach.

  • Involved in multiple systems (i.e., mental health, child welfare (CPS), juvenile justice, developmental disabilities services, and/or substance use disorder treatment) and the system(s) are struggling to support your child together.

  • In Special Education and/or has a 504 Plan, with multiple school suspensions for mental health and/or behavioral issues.

When will WISe be available in my community?

WISe is now available in every county in Washington State. Referrals for a WISe screen can be made at any time. To find out if WISe is available where you live and who to contact go to: www.dshs.wa.gov/dbhr/cbh-wise.shtml and click on the “WISe Referral Contact List by County” document.

If WISe is not yet available in your part of the state, and you believe your child would benefit from mental health services, use the contact information found on this site: https://www.hca.wa.gov/billers-providers-partners/behavioral-health-recovery/wraparound-intensive-services-wise to make a referral, or call the Recovery Helpline, toll free at 866-789-1511.

What Happens Once I Make a Referral?

All referrals should result in a WISe screening. A WISe screen must be offered within 10 working days of receiving a referral. All WISe screens include:

  • Information gathering, to complete the Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) screen, which consists of a subset of 26 questions. This screen will determine whether it appears your child could benefit from the level of care WISe offers. This screening tool can be completed over the phone or in-person.

  • When the screening tool shows that WISe could potentially benefit your child, your child is referred to a WISe agency so that an intake evaluation can be completed. The WISe provider agency will then assign a new team to your child and all care will be coordinated through that agency/team.

  • If it is determined that your child does not appear to meet the level of care WISe provides, your child will be referred to other mental health services, as appropriate, to have his/her needs addressed.