There are times when it becomes appropriate to seek placement for a student outside of the family home.  While it is the goal of the Ventura County SELPA and its partner county agencies to keep children in their homes as much as possible, there are times when a student requires treatment outside of the home.  

Some ways that students end up in out of home placement may be due to psychiatric hospitalization for safety reasons, parent placements, county agency placements, and placement by the IEP team.  As a Special Education counselor, therapist, teacher or Case Manager, you need to work closely with the family, the IEP team and any agency partners if out of home placement is being considered. 

Fact Sheet About Residential Care Options for Families


Some students may be placed by the family in a psychiatric hospital on a short-term basis to address acute needs.  This is a medical service, paid for by family insurance or other outside source, not public school funds. 


A student may be placed on a "Psychiatric Hold" for a limited time due to immediate danger to self or others.  School staff may call the Crisis Team (or Psychiatric Mobile Response Team) if they are concerned about the safety of their student or others. 


VENTURA COUNTY:  Ventura County Behavioral Health provides crisis intervention services for psychiatric emergencies. The Crisis Team operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and is accessed by the entire community.  Our experienced and trained mental health staff will provide you with assistance and support on the phone and, if indicated, will respond in person. Individuals and families are aided in creating the least restrictive plan for safety. If a higher level of care is needed, the Crisis Team may assist with the initial steps toward voluntary or involuntary psychiatric hospitalization.   To request Ventura County Crisis Team Services or for immediate help, please call 1-866-998-2243.


LOS ANGELES COUNTY:  The Psychiatric Mobile Response Team (PMRT) provides non-law enforcement-based mobile crisis response for clients experiencing a psychiatric emergency in the community. PMRT consists of LA County Department of Mental Health clinicians designated to perform evaluations for involuntary detention of individuals determined to be at risk of harming themselves or others, or who are unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter for themselves. PMRT enables successful triage of each situation involving mentally ill, violent or high-risk individuals. PMRT provides caring, deescalating and less traumatizing approaches to crisis intervention—and whenever possible avoids outcomes that involve hospitalization, incarceration, or additional injury. PMRTs’ tactics support clients and their families through trust and attention, and ultimately contribute to reducing stigma surrounding mental health and accessing help.

PMRTs also receive community calls that do not rise to the level of direct services; in these situations, staff provide information, referrals, and other kinds of alternative support. More than 23 entities send referrals to PMRT, making it a critical source of care and response across LA County.

To request Los Angeles County Psychiatric Mobile Response Team Services, please call our 24/7 Help Line at (800) 854-7771

LA County Psychiatric Mobile Response Teams (PMRT) Fact Sheet

Free Man in Black Suit Jacket Using Smartphone Stock Photo


Some students with mental health needs will require placement out of the home into a residential facility in order to benefit from their special education program. This is a decision that is made by the IEP Team, including the parents.  A residential assessment may be completed to assist the team in making the correct placement decision. If it is agreed to move forward with placement, the team will seek to find a placement option that meets the specific behavior, therapeutic and educational needs of the student.  If a student is placed in a residential placement by the IEP Team, there will be no cost to the family.  All costs will be paid by the school district, including transportation to the facility. 

The SELPA employs Residential Placement Consultants that monitor any SELPA student who is placed in a residential facilty by the IEP team. Their goal is to ensure that the student is receiving the proper quality of programming, including therapeutic, psychiatric and medical services.  They also ensure that the student receives the propers Special Education and related services that are specified on the IEP, and that regular progress reports toward all IEP goals are made to the family and sending district.  In addition, they monitor any behavioral interventions and that the student is being educated using California Core Curriculum Standards.  The goal of the Residential Placement Consultant is to bring the student back to their home and school of origin as quickly as possible.  They also will assist the family and community in putting in place supports the student may need to maintain their success upon return home. 

If you are a teacher, Special Education Case Manager or other specialist who works with a student being considered for residential placement, you will be expected to provide data on the student's behavioral and educational performance to the IEP team.  Once the student is placed, there is a possibility that the student will return to your program once their goals in Residential Placement have been met. 

Residency and Responsibility Chart for Out of Home Placement
Unilateral Parent Placement into Residential