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The Cattaraugus County Department of Community Services uses the Single Point of Access (SPOA) model for assessment of referrals for children and adolescents who meet the following criteria:

  • Age 18 and under;
  • Carry a diagnosis indicating serious emotional disability;
  • Involved with other service providers such as School, Committee on Special Education, Child Welfare or Child Protection Services, and Juvenile Justice/Probation.

Children referred from hospitals are given high priority for utilization of the SPOA model.

Children age 7 and under can also be assessed and followed by the SPOA process.

The SPOA model ensures that a strong collaboration will be developed between parents and service providers and that services will be delivered in a coordinated way between home-school-and community.

The SPOA process involves:

  • Partnership between the parent/caregivers with the service providers working with the child and family 
    • Emphasis is placed on working with the whole family.
    • The parent may choose to invite providers from all agencies to meet together to discuss the strengths and concerns of the child.
  • After assessment by the intake staff, a team SPOA meeting is scheduled for goals to be identified.
    • The team consists of parent(s)/guardian(s) and involved staff from other agencies who meet to determine the strengths and needs of the child and family.
    • Future SPOA meetings will be set up to monitor progress and identify ways to sustain improvements.
  • A crisis plan is also part of each SPOA review.

Conventional Mental Health Services vs. SPOA

Difference Between Conventional Mental Health Services and Single Point of Access Children's Mental Health Collaborative

Traditional Mental Health System Collaborative Mental Health Process
Individual Approach Team Approach
Focus on client deficit/pathology Focus on youth & family strengths
Parents are clients Parents are partners
Parents are part of the problem Parents are part of the solution
Office and residential-based services Home and community-based services
Agency needs Child and family needs
Different systems / different advice Comprehensive plan
Parent / youth on their own Family receives wrap-around services
Stand alone service Part of a larger network of care
Orthodox approach Flexible plan based on youth / family needs
"Color Blind" Culturally competent (appropriate)

Children & Youth SPOA Meeting Schedule

Usually meet the Second and Fourth Monday of each month; Except October and December, due to Holidays.

Meetings are at 9:30AM in the Administrative Conference Room of the County Office Building in Olean.

Children & Youth SPOA Packet:

Referral Packet  Completed packets can be returned to the fax or email address below.

For more information, please contact:

Melissa Ball, MSEd, LMHC, NCC

SPOA Coordinator for Cattaraugus County

(o) 716-373-0980 ext 5401

(f) 716-372-2965