YES Waiver

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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 youth and their family weekly to work on creating a Wraparound Plan. The Wraparound Plan is also developed 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:

Specialized therapies:

  • Nontraditional services that provide alternative and creative forms of therapy to help improve the youth’s health, welfare and functioning in their community. This includes:
    • Animal-assisted therapy.
    • Art therapy.
    • Music therapy.
    • Recreational therapy.
    • Nutritional counseling.

Community living supports:

  • Help families adjust to special challenges related to the youth’s mental health needs by using proven practices and strategies.

Family supports:

  • Connect family members with others who can support them by sharing similar lived experiences.

Employee assistance and supported employment:

  • Help youth find a job and be successful in it.

Paraprofessional services:

  • Help with stressful situations through coaching and mentoring.

Respite services:

  • Allow families and caretakers to take a temporary break from caring for youth enrolled in YES.

Nonmedical transportation:

  • Take youth to YES Waiver services when no other transportation is available.

Supportive family-based alternatives:

  • Provide support and model healthy interactions for the whole family while the youth temporarily lives in a therapeutic home.

Adaptive aids and supports:

  • Supplement YES services with medically necessary supports to prevent out-of-home placement.

Minor home modifications:

  • Support the youth’s ability to function independently at home and in the community.

Transition services:

  • Help with the costs associated with a youth moving 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 through 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 if they are legally emancipated.

How long does the program last?

The average length of time in the YES Waiver is 11–18 months. Each youth’s needs will determine duration of care.

How do I get YES Waiver services?

Individuals must contact their local mental health authority to be added to the YES Waiver inquiry list. Only a parent, guardian or managing conservator can request a youth be added to the inquiry list and assessed for the YES Waiver, unless the youth is legally emancipated.
Click here for the phone number to your local mental or behavioral health authority YES waiver inquiry line (PDF).