YES Waiver


The Youth Empowerment Services waiver is a 1915(c) Medicaid program that helps children and youth with serious mental, emotional and behavioral difficulties. The YES waiver provides intensive services delivered within a strengths-based team planning process called wraparound. Wraparound builds on family and community support and utilizes YES services to help build your family’s natural support network and connection with your community. YES services are family-centered, coordinated and effective at preventing out-of-home placement and promoting lifelong independence and self-defined success.

The program aims to:

  • Reduce the amount of time children are out of their home and community because of a mental health need.
  • Expand available mental health services and supports.
  • Improve the lives of children and youth.

A wraparound facilitator will meet with you and your child weekly to work on creating a plan specifically for your child. The wraparound plan is also made with help from your child and family team, which meets once a month. The team includes you, your child and people who are important in your child’s life. This may be professionals, family, friends, coaches or teachers who want to help your child meet their goals. Together, the team develops a plan of care to meet the specific needs and goals of your child and family using YES services, community resources and family strengths.

YES services include:

  • Respite: Allows caretakers to take a temporary break
  • Community living supports: Uses proven practices and strategies to help you and your child build skills to deal with mental health needs in the community
  • Specialized therapies: Includes art, recreational, music and animal-assisted therapy, as well as nutritional counseling
  • Family supports: Offers support from caretakers with similar experiences
  • Employee assistance and supported employment: Helps youth find and succeed at a job
  • Adaptive aids and supports: Prevents out-of-home placement by providing medically necessary goods and services
  • Minor home modifications: Keeps your child safe at home with medically necessary modifications
  • Non-medical transportation: Takes the child to a YES waiver service when no other transportation is available
  • Paraprofessional services: Helps the child deal with stressful situations through coaching and mentoring
  • Supportive family-based alternatives: Helps the whole family learn healthy interactions
  • Transition services: Assists with the costs of moving a child into their own home

What Are the Benefits of YES Waiver Services?

The YES waiver is designed to improve the lives of children, youth and families served

  • You and your child are supported by a team.
  • Services and supports target your child’s and family’s needs.
  • You and your child can access services that are only available through YES.
  • Supports help your child stay in your home and community.

Who Is Eligible for YES Waiver Services?

To participate in the YES waiver, your child must:

  • Be 3-18 years old.
  • Have serious mental, emotional and behavioral difficulties.
  • Have a qualifying mental health diagnosis.
  • Be at risk of being placed outside of their home due to their mental health needs.
  • Meet the criteria to be in a psychiatric hospital.
  • Be eligible for Medicaid (parent's income does not apply).
  • Currently live in a home setting with a legal guardian or on their own.

How Long Does the Program Last?

The average length of time in the YES waiver is 11 to 18 months. Your child’s needs will determine program duration.

How Do I Get YES Waiver Services?

If you are a parent or a guardian, please contact your local mental health authority and ask for your child to be added to the YES waiver inquiry list. Click here to find your local mental or behavioral health authority YES waiver inquiry line (PDF).