Behavioral Health/Intellectual Disability/Early Intervention

The mission of the Lackawanna-Susquehanna Counties Behavioral Health Intellectual Disabilities Early Intervention (BHIDEI) Program is to connect consumer satisfaction, outcome evaluation and accountability with the planning, procurement, and efficient management of effective services and supports. Our vision is to utilize a holistic approach in partnering with individuals, families and the community by promoting hope, empowerment, choice, and opportunities that encourage people to achieve their personal outcomes as individuals and community members.


Lackawanna County Suicide Prevention Alliance
is opened to community stakeholders and the public.  The meetings start at 5 pm and members can either attend the meeting at the 911 center or via zoom.

Meeting dates:

  • April 9, 2024 at 5:00 pm
  • June 11, 2024, at 5:00 pm
  • August 13, 2024, at 5:00 pm
  • October 15, 2024, at 5:00 pm
  • December 10, 2024, at 5:00 pm

If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Jessica Chelik, Behavioral Health Coordinator/ Early Intervention Supervisor at or 570-346-5741. Ext. 1562.    

Susquehanna Suicide Awareness Initiative is also opened to the public.  All meetings are held via zoom. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Jessica Chelik, Behavioral Health Coordinator/ Early Intervention Supervisor at or 570-346-5741. Ext. 1562.    

Baldi Award Presentation
The Lackawanna- Susquehanna Behavioral Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention Program Advisory Board presented its 2023 John J. Baldi Award of Excellence to Mr. Sean McHale, third from right, for outstanding research, evaluation and development efforts within Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties. The award for 2023 marks the 25th annual presentation of the award, established in 1999, and is given to individuals who have made a profound impact on the quality of life for persons with either mental illness and those in recovery or persons with an intellectual or developmental disability within the two counties.

Mr. Sean McHale is honored with the Lackawanna-Susquehanna Behavioral Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention Program Advisory Board’s 2023 John J. Baldi Award of Excellence. From Left Mr. Raymond Hayes, Advisory Board Member; Ms. Miki Drutchal, Administrator; Mr. Sean McHale, Award Recipient; Mrs. Susan McHale, Wife; Ms. Cherianne Scala, The Advocacy Alliance 

Behavioral Program Updates

The County Program office was awarded three crisis grants, through the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (CMHSBG). The grants are for the creation of medical mobile crisis team services, crisis co-responder team and GPS dispatch technology. The medical mobile crisis team will be able to prescribe and/or administer medication to stabilize individuals who are having a mental health crisis. Crisis co-responder team will be a CIT trained police officer and a mental health crisis worker that will respond to mental health crisis calls. The goal is to decrease the interaction individuals with mental illness have with the criminal justice system and increase the delivery of crisis services in the community rather than hospital emergency departments. The GPS dispatch technology will offer the necessary technology to determine what service needs to be dispatched when a call comes in. The County Program is looking to enhance crisis services, avoid unnecessary hospital visits, decrease arrests, and follow best practices. Scranton Counseling Center will deliver the crisis services.

Scranton Counseling Center opened a Crisis Receiving and Stabilization Unit at their center on Cherry St., in Scranton in January 2024.

The County Program Office received information related to funding received from the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS). The Program submitted a proposal to OMHSAS to access Community Hospital Integration Project (CHIP) funding to sustain our community mental health residential programs and supported housing programs.  CHIP funds are provided to counties to close a state hospital bed and relocate a consumer at a state hospital to the community.  Additional funding will be allocated to the program to ensure that individuals are well supported outside of institutional care. While this is not the optimum solution to our budget shortfalls, these additional funds will assist us in sustaining our mental health residential program until such time as we receive an increase to our primary allocation.

 John Rosengrant from Scranton Counseling Center is developing a new program called Katie’s Place Clubhouse.  Katie’s Place Clubhouse is governed by an international entity – Clubhouse International, with 300 Clubhouses in the world.  20 of these Clubhouses are within Pennsylvania.

Katie’s Place Clubhouse is a community of individuals who live with mental illness. The Clubhouse will be located on 247 Penn Avenue in downtown Scranton.  Currently, the Club House activities are at Scranton Counseling Center.

Early Intervention Referrals

If your child is in need of Early Intervention Services and not currently receiving them, please contact Melissa Strackbein, 570-346-5741 x1533 for more information.

Friendship House- Upper Lackawanna and Susquehanna County. (Olyphant /Up the Valley)

Scranton Counseling Center- Lower Lackawanna County (Dickson City/ Down the Valley)

Early Intervention Contacts

Friendship House
Mary Thorne B.S.
Early Intervention-Service Coordination Supervisor
Friendship House
1300 Old Plank Rd.
Mayfield, PA 18433
Cell:  (570)-904-9005
Fax:  (855)-948-0980

Friendship House
Cindy Muta, BSW
Director Comprehensive Case Management Services
Friendship House
1509 Maple Street
Scranton, PA 18505
(570)-342-8305 Extension 2037
Fax: (570)-341-9736

Scranton Counseling Center
Kerri Orzechowski
Early Intervention Program Director
Scranton Counseling Center                                   
329 Cherry Street
Scranton PA 18505
570-348-6100 ext 3343                            
Fax: 570-207-1202    


Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (IDD)

IDD services are provided to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (including autism) and their families in their homes or in community settings.

Examples of services:
• Respite – provides relief to a caregiver
• Companion – provides supervision to an adult with a disability
• In-Home and Community Supports – assists with skill development/maintenance
• Residential supports, day options, employment, transportation, and more

Payment for services:
Services are funded by Federal Medicaid Waivers, state, and county dollars depending on availability of funds.

Individuals 3 years of age and older residing in Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties who meet all established criteria for one of the targeted groups below:

  • Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Individuals with Autism
  • Children under the age of 9 with a developmental disability
  • Individuals under the age of 22 with complex medical conditions

Registering for Services:
The first step in the registration process is eligibility determination. The L-S BH/ID/EI Program contracts with the Advocacy Alliance’s Independent Eligibility Team (IET) to process intake and referrals for IDD Services. An IET coordinator will work with you on gathering documentation needed to establish eligibility and if necessary, assist with assessments and evaluations. Please contact the IET to begin this process.

  • Advocacy Alliance – Independent Eligibility Team (IET)

Selecting Supports Coordination Organization (SCO):
Once eligibility is established, individuals and their families have a choice of a Supports Coordination Organization (SCO). The primary role of SCOs is to locate, coordinate, and monitor service for the individuals registered with the county’s Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services program. Individuals and their families will be notified of qualified and willing SCOs via mail after the eligibility determination process has been completed by the IET.
Currently, there are three SCOs serving individuals residing in Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties:

  • Service Access & Management, Inc.
    201 Lackawanna Ave
    Scranton, PA 18503              
    Contact:  Andrew Hoppes

  • Tri-Valley Care, Inc.
    1300 Old Plank Rd
    Mayfield, PA 18433
    Contact: April Roche

  • Quality Progressions
    65 East Elizabeth
    Bethlehem PA 18018
    Contact:  Keith Zielinski
    (will only accept referrals for individuals living near the Carbon, Monroe, Pike County border)

Additional IDD Contacts:

  • PA Family Network
    The Mission of the PA Family Network is to assist and empower people with disabilities and their families to seek quality and satisfaction in their lives as well as equal access to supports and services.
    Contact: Francine Hogan
    1-844-PA-Family (1-844-723-2645)

  • Right to Education Task Force
    The primary purpose of the Right to Education Task Force is to ensure that the intent and spirit of the Right to Education Consent Agreement is carried out. Membership of the Local Task Force is made up of Parents of children with special needs, School Officials, and Representatives serving school age children with special needs
    Contact: Roseann Polishan


The Department of Human Services (DHS) announced the launch of a statewide Support & Referral Helpline staffed by skilled and compassionate staff who will be available 24/7 to assist Pennsylvanians struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 emergency and refer them to community-based resources that can further help to meet individual needs. The toll-free, round-the-clock support line is officially operational.  The number to call is 1-855-284-2494  For TTY, dial 724-631-5600

Suicide Prevention Alliance-Lackawanna County Resources
Mental Health, Anxiety and Stress

Drug and Alcohol Issues