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Bright Beginnings for Families

Bright Beginnings for Families  is a collaboration between Fresno County Behavioral Health-Children’s Mental Health, Pacific Clinics, Exceptional Parents Unlimited (EPU) and Comprehensive Youth Services of Fresno, Inc. (CYS).  Bright Beginnings for Families includes comprehensive and intensive services and supports for families with children ages birth through 10 years with issues of attachment and bonding, serious emotional disturbance (SED), learning, development, disruptive behaviors, or poor socialization. At CYS, the BBFF program offers a variety of evidence-based treatment options for children ages zero to seven and their families to address behavioral and mental health concerns.

The program at CYS focuses on the provision of therapy services to children 2 to 7 years of age whose problematic behaviors (defiance, inability to follow directions, aggression) are disruptive or impulsive enough to cause serious problems at home, at daycare, pre-school, kindergarten or elementary school.


Qualifying Criteria for All BBFF Services:
To obtain services in the BBFF program for any of the treatment services we offer, children must meet the following criteria:

  • Child must have Medi-Cal insurance coverage valid in Fresno County

  • All BBFF services are billed through Fresno County Medi-Cal plans

All BBFF services are provided at the main CYS agency office by Licensed and Associate therapists registered with the Board of Behavioral Sciences.

Is there a cost for these services?

Services are covered by Medi-Cal or MHSA funds.

Effective July 1, 2011, the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health began to apply the “Uniform Method of Determining Ability to Pay (UMDAP)” to all programs funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).  The Bright Beginnings for Families program  is a qualified MHSA  program.  Comprehensive Youth Services will assist families  in applying for UMDAP so that they may qualify for low cost services based on income.

Hours of Operation - Monday - Thursday 8 am - 6 pm and Friday 8 am - 5 pm

For more information on this program email:

Bright Beginnings for Families is a  program of Fresno County’s Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Program, with funding created through a State ballot measure, Proposition 63. 


Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
What is PCIT?
Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a treatment program which helps both parents and children. PCIT helps improve the quality of the parent-child relationship and teaches parents the skills necessary to manage their child’s severe behavior problems.

PCIT consists of two parts: a Relationship Enhancement component and an Improving Compliance component.


With the Relationship Enhancement component, parents are taught specific skills and then coached by a therapist how to use those skills to decrease the negative behaviors of their child and increase positive and supportive communication.

In the Improving Compliance component, parents are taught specific skills and then coached by a therapist how to use those skills to increase compliant and appropriate behaviors of their child.

With both components of PCIT, parents are taught specific skills and given the opportunity to learn these skills during therapy with their child until the parent feels confident in their ability to manage their child’s behavior.

Primary Focus/Goal of Treatment:
To decrease the following problematic behaviors in children ages 4-7 that may be negatively impacting their ability to function in their home, in school and/or in the community such as:

  • Defiance/non-compliance

  • Inability to follow directions

  • Aggressive behaviors

  • Disruptive or impulsive behaviors

  • Tantrums

PCIT is also effective with children who are:

  • Currently in foster care

  • In the process of reuniting with their parents

  • Suspended or expelled from daycare or school

Parent Child Interaction Therapy for Toddlers (PCIT-T)
What is PCIT-T?
PCIT-T is an early intervention program for children ages 1-3 that uses similar methods of PCIT to enhance the parent-child relationship and improve problematic behaviors such as the following:


  • Tantrums

  • Aggression (e.g. hitting, biting, pinching)

  • Fussiness (e.g. screaming, whining, crying)

  • Anger, frustration, head-banging

  • Attachment difficulties (e.g. rejection of parent, difficult to comfort)

  • Separation anxiety or withdrawal from parent

  • Developmental concerns (e.g. autistic behaviors, language problems)

  • Child abuse and neglect

  • Parental stress (e.g. anxiety, dissatisfaction, difficulty coping, lack of confidence)


What Does a PCIT Therapy Room Look Like?
The basic set-up for PCIT rooms includes a one-way mirror separating an observation room where the therapist is located and a connecting room where the child and parent engage in play during the sessions.

A sound system is used to allow the therapist to coach the parent via an earbud during the session on how to utilize the PCIT skills with their child.

Below is a diagram of what the rooms look like for PCIT sessions:


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For more information on this program email:

Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)
What is CPP?

Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is a type of therapy for children age 0-5 who are experiencing problems with social/emotional behaviors, mental health and/or attachment as a result of having experienced at least one traumatic event such as:

  • Maltreatment/neglect

  • Sudden or traumatic death of someone close

  • A serious accident or community violence

  • Child Abuse (e.g. sexual, physical, emotional)

  • Exposure to domestic violence

Therapy sessions involve both the child and parent or primary caregiver.

Primary Focus/Goal of Treatment:
The primary goal of CPP is to support and strengthen the relationship between a child and his or her caregiver as a means for restoring the child's cognitive, behavioral, and social functioning. Treatment also focuses on factors that impact the caregiver-child relationship (e.g. cultural norms and socioeconomic status, immigration-related stressors, etc.).

The type of trauma experience and the child's age or developmental stage determine the structure of CPP sessions.

For example:

  • With infants, the child is present, but treatment focuses on helping the parent to understand how the child's and parent's trauma experience may affect the child's functioning and development.

  • Toddlers and preschoolers are more active participants in treatment, which usually includes play as a means for facilitating communication between the child and parent regarding the trauma.

When parents have a history of their own trauma the therapist also helps the parent understand how this may be impacting their ability to support their child. CPP helps the parent interact with their child in new and developmentally appropriate ways.

CPP studies involving diverse families exposed to traumatic situations have shown improvements in the following areas:

  • Child’s mood

  • Problematic behaviors

  • Learning/Development

  • Trauma symptoms

  • Biological stress response

  • Parent’s mood

  • Parenting stress levels

  • Trauma symptoms

  • The parent-child relationship


For information on how to be referred for BBFF services email us at

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Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
What is TF-CBT?

TF-CBT is an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma and their parents or caregivers. TF-CBT successfully resolves a broad array of emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with single, multiple and complex
trauma experiences.

Primary Focus/Goal of Treatment: Assist the child or adolescent to develop coping strategies for traumatic stress reactions. Reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, or acting out behavior which are common in children exposed to trauma.

TF-CBT is provided to children from 3 to 18 years of age by a therapist who has received training in TF-CBT. The treatment typically lasts between 12 to 16 sessions.

These sessions include:

  • Individual sessions for child or adolescent

  • Individual sessions for parents

  • Conjoint sessions between parent and child or adolescent

Exhibiting one or several of the symptoms or behaviors below places the child at risk of having difficulty functioning at home, in school and in the community.

  • Inability or unwillingness to recall trauma details

  • Difficulty stopping thoughts about the trauma

  • Emotional and physical numbing

  • Recalling physical sensations that occurred during trauma

  • Difficulty staying still or fidgeting

  • Sleeping routine is disturbed (e.g. not wanting to sleep alone, nightmares, waking up in the middle of the night)

  • Rapid changes in mood

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Low self esteem

  • Inability to trust others

  • Desire to hurt oneself or others


These symptoms or behaviors, if left untreated, may impede in the child’s normal developmental process.

For information on how to be referred for BBFF services email us at

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Incredible Years Parenting Program
What is Incredible Years?

The Incredible Years® (IY) is an evidence-based early intervention parenting program, focused on strengthening parenting skills and increasing parent involvement to promote children’s academic, social, and emotional skills and reduce problematic behaviors. The parent intervention programs are delivered to groups of parents/caregivers according to their child’s age.


Data from nine randomized studies, with over 2000 families, indicates that parents who have taken the course are able to reduce children’s behavior problems and increase pro-social behaviors significantly.  Moreover, parents report feeling more confident and comfortable about their parenting skills after completing the course. 


The IY programs place an emphasis on helping parents engage in positive interactions with their children which, in turn,  enhances the social and behavioral engagement of children across a variety of settings (e.g. in the home, day-care, school, etc.).

Primary Focus/Goal of Treatment:
For Parents with Toddlers Ages 1 - 3 Years

In the Parents and Toddlers Basic Program, parents learn how to:

  • Help their toddlers feel loved and secure

  • Encourage their toddler’s language, social, and emotional development

  • Establish clear and predictable routines

  • Handle separations and reunions

  • Use positive discipline to manage misbehavior

For Parents with Children Ages 3 - 6 Years

In the Parents and Toddlers Basic Program, parents learn how to:

  • Strengthens parent-child interactions and attachment

  • Reduces harsh discipline

  • Fosters parents’ ability to promote children’s social, emotional and language development


Parents also learn how to build school readiness skills and are encouraged to partner with teachers and day care professionals so they can promote children’s emotional regulation and social skills.

For information on how to be referred for BBFF services email us at

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