A WISE Approach

Provided by Wraparound with Intensive Services

A new way to meet the needs of children on Medicaid with mental health challenges in Washington

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:

  • 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. Your child has access to crisis services any time of the day, 365 days a year. Your child will receive services from an individual who is familiar with your family and your individualized crisis plan. Whenever necessary, this includes face-to-face interventions at the location where the crisis occurs.

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 in getting the right level of services to individuals).
When might it be helpful for me access WISe?
You can refer your child for a WISe screen at any time. 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 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., 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 rolling out across Washington through June 2018; therefore it may not be available yet in your part of the state. Referrals for a WISe screen can be made at any time in counties that have implemented WISe.

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

WISe Principles:

WISe values that help improve outcomes for children:
1. Family and Youth Voice and Choice
2. Team based
3. Natural Supports
4. Collaboration
5. Home and Community-based
6. Culturally Relevant
7. Individualized
8. Strengths Based
9. Outcome-based
10. Unconditional

Click here for more information on WISe.

printable pdf version

*Access to Care Standards

  • The individual is determined to have a mental illness under a covered diagnosis.
  • The individual’s impairment(s) and corresponding need(s) must be the result of a mental illness.
  • The intervention is deemed to be reasonably calculated to improve, stabilize or prevent deterioration of functioning resulting from the presence of a mental illness.
  • The individual is expected to benefit from the intervention.
  • The individual’s unmet need would not be more appropriately met by any other formal or informal system or support.


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