Community Services

This section provides broad overviews of Mental Health, Law Enforcement, Medical Care, Youth Court, Child & Family Services, Schools, Developmental Disabilities, Community Alternatives to Home, and Other Resources. 

Mental Health

The mental health system has many different services, and each has their own criteria and providers. The mental health system is different from other systems in that families have more choices of providers. This is both a benefit and a challenge. The benefit is having options to choose from, and the challenge is knowing how to navigate those options and select the best one. Here we provide some tips for selecting a provider, and an overview of the available types of mental health services. The services are listed in order of intensity, with the exception of crisis services.

Learn More About Mental Health

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement responds to youth in crisis in a variety of ways. This may include providing support and stabilization, giving a verbal warning, transporting youth to the Emergency Room, writing a ticket, or placing a youth in detention. Law enforcement may also make a report to Child and Family Services if they suspect child abuse and neglect. Law enforcement responses will vary based on the discretion of the officer, and the volume and severity of other calls and incidents at the time.  Here we describe what each of these responses may look like.

Learn More About Law Enforcement

Medical Care

The medical system is highly complex.  Describing the medical system as a whole is beyond the scope of this project, but here we describe the medical system as it pertains to youth with mental health concerns.

Learn More About Medical Care

Youth Court

Youth become involved in the Youth Court system by receiving a citation/ticket by law enforcement. Depending on the type of citation, severity of offense, and the individual situation, Youth Court can proceed in a variety of ways. Here we describe the different levels of Youth Court involvement. For more information on Montana's Youth Court Services click here.

Learn More About Youth Court

Child and Family Services

Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) provides mandated protective services to children experiencing abuse, neglect, or abandonment. This includes receiving and investigating reports of child abuse and neglect, helping families to stay together or reunite, and finding placements in foster or adoptive homes. Here we describe the different functions and levels of intervention within Child and Family Services Division.

Learn More About Child and Family Services


The public school system varies based on district, though there are many common features you can expect. Each school has a variety of resources for the needs of youth and their families. Some resources are available to all students and families, and other resources are available to youth with higher or more specialized needs. For schools outside of Billings Public School District, contact the principal or special education director to inquire about available resources and interventions. Billings Public Schools uses a 3 Tier Behavioral support System. A Behavioral Intervention Coach can help students who fall in all 3 Tiers.

-At tier three, students with the most intensive behavioral needs receive an individualized Behavior Intervention Plan. (Refer to flow chart taken from BPS website)

Learn More About School

Developmental Disabilities

The developmental disabilities system offers extensive services through several different programs. Each program has its own requirements for who is eligible and how to enroll. The challenge with this system is the long wait lists to receive services, even when a youth has been found eligible. For this reason, it is important to understand how the system works and get youth set up as early as possible. Here we describe the different programs available for youth in the developmental disabilities system.

The Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP) administers, provides funding and monitors a service system that supports individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. They are located throughout Montana by the DDP Central Office in Helena and Regional Offices.
DDP Services are available at no cost to eligible individuals of any age.  Many kinds of services are offered through providers in communities or self-directed options. This support is separate from other assistance that is provided through schools, Medicaid, insurance, Social Security, etc.
For a more complete guide, visit Guide to Success: Navigating Montana's Developmental Disabilities Program.

Learn More About Developmental Disabilities

Community Alternatives to Home

There are times when an alternative to living at home may be needed to stabilize crisis in a family. There are short term and long term options for alternative placements. Here we describe what each of those options looks like.

Learn More About Community Alternatives to Home

Other Resources

Other Resources refers to the resources in the Billings area not otherwise included in the discussion of youth in crisis. This includes a wide range of categories such as food, clothing, housing, government support, employment, education, disabilities, childcare, legal, health and wellness, social clubs, support groups, and advocacy.  Links to the agencies/organizations are listed below.

Learn More About Other Resources