Resource Guides

The Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program

The Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program (SAP) is a systematic team process used to mobilize school resources to remove barriers to learning. SAP is designed to assist in identifying issues including alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and mental health issues which pose a barrier to a student’s success. The primary goal of the Student Assistance Program is to help students overcome these barriers so that they may achieve, advance, and remain in school. While Student Assistance Programs exist in other areas of the country, the structure and operation of the program in Pennsylvania is a unique expression of an integrated model serving the needs of Pennsylvania families and students.

Opioid Treatments Fact Sheet

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) worked closely with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop a new resource on treatments for opioid dependence or withdrawal. The resource includes some quick tips to get people to help while helping them avoid products that promise help but can instead cost precious time and money, lead to relapse, and even be dangerous.

You can find this one-page fact sheet in English at and in Spanish at We hope you find this information useful. Feel free to share throughout your network, website, newsletters, and social media.

Special Needs Unit

The Special Needs Units (SNUs) are mandated by PA DHS since the inception of HealthChoices.  Medical Assistance MCOs contracted with the Department of Human Services are required to provide SNUs. Their primary purpose is coordinating and accessing care for children with special physical and behavioral healthcare needs. This would include children who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.

SNUs can assist members directly and provide ongoing case management. They assist with accessing services, referrals, scheduling appointments, and helping with complaints and grievances.  They communicate with the MCO and ensure members receive services most appropriate to their needs.  They also support youth as they transition out of EPSDT and into adult care.

PA Family Alliance for Children’s Services

PA Family Alliance for Children’s Services is a state-wide organization which began when families of children with social, emotional, behavioral and learning challenges began uniting in their local communities to support one another in their efforts to access services. Some of the families banded together to form their own family-run organizations, some worked alone, and some joined existing agencies and organizations where they were able to share the strength and wisdom that only comes from experience. They had hopes that all families would be valued and embraced as the experts that they indeed were in knowing and understanding the needs of their loved ones. These hardworking, active, and loving caregivers led the way for what is now the vision of PA Family Alliance for Children’s Services.

For educational materials specific for family members go to: Topics include: Learning about diagnosis, statewide resources, education, empowerment, leadership and, resiliency. 

If you are interested in connecting visit: for families of children and young adults with social, emotional, behavioral and learning challenges who play a critical role in developing policies and practices that help their loved one succeed. For decades, family leaders have influenced national, state and local policies. If you’re interested in learning or refining your leadership skills so you can have an active part in influencing change in your local community, check out Learning Groups and other leadership options.

Pennsylvania Medicaid Managed Care Org. Physical and Behavioral/Mental Health Listing

Prevent Suicide PA

Prevent Suicide PA and the Pennsylvania Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant are pleased to announce that the Suicide Prevention Online Learning Center is now live! This site is designed to provide current and evidence-based information to anyone who may come into contact with individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, including educators, mental health professionals, medical professionals, and the general community.

The Online Learning Center can be accessed by visiting

Select featured courses include the following:

  • Suicide Prevention for Educators (an 8-class course that can fulfill Act 71 requirements for schools
  • Clinical Approaches to Suicide Prevention for School-based Counselors
  • Method Restriction: Primary Care and Public Health Approaches

When visiting the site for the first time, users must click the “login” tab to register, creating a username and password. 
Then, click the “All Courses” tab to view all site content. Any training that users complete will be documented on a transcript that may be downloaded and some courses will offer printable certificates.

Suicide Resources

Community HealthChoices (CHC) for Older Pennsylvanians

The Wolf Administration is committed to serving more people in the community. Community HealthChoices (CHC) is a new initiative that will increase opportunities for older Pennsylvanians and individuals with physical disabilities to remain in their homes that rolled out in the southwest region on January 1, 2018.

 CHC was developed to: (1) enhance access to and improve coordination of medical care and; (2) create a person-driven, long-term support system in which people have a choice, control, and access to a full array of quality services that provide independence, health, and quality of life. Long-term services and supports help eligible individuals to perform daily activities in their home such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, and administering medications.

Many of you are familiar with the populations that the program serves, but please find the attached document that explains the populations eligible for the program. The document can also be found on the Department of Human Services website to learn more about the program.