image with text that reads: PUCK open house Thursday May 11 4pm-6pm children, youth & family services 314 Dewey St. Bennington, VT. There is a graphic with multicolor paint handprints below the text.

United Counseling Service (UCS) to host Psychiatric Urgent Care for Kids (PUCK) open house May 11

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United Counseling Service (UCS) will host an open house for its Psychiatric Urgent Care for Kids (PUCK) program on Thursday, May 11, 2023 from 4-6pm at the Children, Youth, and Family Services (CYFS) building located at 314 Dewey Street in Bennington, VT. Members of the community are invited to tour the facility, meet staff, and learn how the program can support local children and families.

PUCK is a program within the CYFS division of UCS that aims to reduce the number of children ages 18 and under who visit the emergency department due to mental health crises. PUCK was created in response to an increasing number of children transported from school to the emergency department by police offers, which can be a traumatizing experience.

PUCK provides a safe alternative to the emergency department by providing appropriate treatment and care for children in crisis in a therapeutic setting.  PUCK is accessed through a Family Emergency Services (FES) crisis clinician who provides a mental health screening with the child to determine if PUCK is the right level of care for stabilization. Stabilization refers to the de-escalation of a mental health crisis to the point at which the youth is stable and no longer at risk. The child can stay at PUCK for a two hours or up to three days provided they are safe to return home in the evening.  PUCK staff work with the family and school to help identify next steps in treatment and to provides support and consultation as needed.

“There is an unprecedented level of need for child-centered mental health care in Bennington County and beyond,” says Lorna Mattern, Executive Director of UCS. “PUCK is made possible by the work of the dedicated staff who provides a safe alternative to the emergency department.. We look forward to welcoming our community to the PUCK Open House on May 11 to learn how UCS helps children in crisis.”

For more information about PUCK, please call UCS at 802-442-5491.

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