The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services launched a children and families crisis response program Monday.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said the department is working with partners to realign dollars to develop a way in which families can navigate the behavioral health system and have access to services.

Crisis response that was provided only in pockets across the state is now available statewide through a $12 million, four-year grant awarded in 2016 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

Crisis response teams will provide immediate mental health crisis response counseling to those in need, HHS chief executive office Courtney Phillips said. 

They may partner with law enforcement to assist with risk assessment, provide crisis intervention or stabilization, and refer clients to mental health resources in their communities, she said. Services may be offered face-to-face or via telehealth. 

The department is partnering with Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, the Nebraska Department of Education, Probation Administration and family organizations. 

Each area has crisis service numbers, or people can use the Nebraska family helpline, 888-866-8660. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature.

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JoAnne Young covers state government, including the Legislature and state agencies, and the people they serve.

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