Child Welfare and Mental Health
Through its Child Welfare Initiative, the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health (TA Center) works to increase the capacity of states, tribes, territories, and communities to provide effective mental health services for children, youth and families served by the child welfare system. By ensuring an essential child welfare voice, expertise and focus in its work, the TA Center infuses child welfare issues into its ongoing activities. These activities include partnershps with federally funded National Child Welfare Resource Centers (NRCs) and National Child Welfare Implementation Centers (ICs) on specific projects, conducting studies, producing best practice documents for the field, and providing technical assistance on mental health and child welfare collaboration and best practices.
Funding for this initiative is provided by the Children’s Bureau of the federal Administration on Children, Youth and Families through a cooperative agreement with the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch of the federal Center for Mental Health Services. The TA Center’s Child Welfare Initiative promotes collaboration across child welfare and mental health agencies to design interventions that are built on the values of family-driven, youth guided, community-based, and cultural competence. These values are core to achieving positive outcomes and should be woven into the screening, assessment, treatment and aftercare for children and youth in the child welfare system who have behavioral health problems, and their families. The TA Center promotes the adoption of a system of care framework, specifically adapted for child welfare systems, in planning, implementing and evaluating collaborative service delivery systems. The system of care framework and its operational components is detailed in a user-friendly guide written by Sheila Pires, Building Systems of Care: A Primer for Child Welfare. The goals of implementing a systems of care approach across child welfare and mental health are to: 1) support and sustain a seamless statewide, cross-agency, behavioral health system; 2) produce positive outcomes for children and families; and 3) better achieve permanency, safety and well-being.
Upcoming Activities and Initiatives
Psychotropic Medications for Children/Youth in Foster Care
Training and Technical Assistance Activities
Practices related to the oversight and monitoring of psychotropic medications for foster children vary widely across the nation, and experts agree that greater controls are needed to ensure safe and appropriate use of psychotropic medication. To address this need and to help States with the development of the psychotropic medication oversight and monitoring components of their title IV-B plan, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is providing multiple opportunities for technical assistance (TA) and peer-to-peer information sharing.
The latest of these offerings include:
- A series of three Q & A discussion sessions, Getting Practical: Developing Your State Plan for Psychotropic Medication Management. This series is primarily targeted toward State leaders who will be working together on plans to enhance oversight and monitoring. This web-based series will be in a question-and-answer format, allowing experts in the field to provide ideas and feedback designed to support States in their planning efforts. The first two sessions will offer a discussion of major content areas to be addressed in the State plans, while the third will provide an opportunity for interaction with representatives of ACYF.
- Part 1 (Wednesday, March 28, 2012), with panel members Michael Naylor, MD, and James Rogers, MD. Webinar Playback
- Part 2 (Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm), with proposed panel of Laurel Leslie, MD, Tom Mackie, MPH, and Stephen Crystal, Ph.D. Webinar Playback & PowerPoint
- Part 3 (Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm), with representatives of ACYF. Webinar Playback & PowerPoint
- Web-based resources to promote peer-to-peer discussion and information exchange among teams working on their State plans will provide a vehicle for posing questions, sharing drafts of work in progress, and offering resources and potential solutions to the challenges raised will be made available through Georgetown University TA Center for Children’s Mental Health.
The work of Georgetown's National TA Center for Children's Mental Health and AIR's TA Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health is supported through an intra-agency Agreement between ACF/ACYF and SAMHSA/CMHS.
SAMHSA's Short Report Release Webinar
Promoting Recovery and Resilience for Children and Youth Involved in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
This informational webinar marks the release of an exciting new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Promoting Recovery and Resilience for Children and Youth Involved in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems. The report’s release corresponded with National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 9th. The special guest speakers highlighted the report’s findings and described how they can be applied to public systems’ efforts to improve outcomes for children and families. They also highlighted recent efforts within child welfare to focus on improving social and emotional well-being and children’s functioning.
- Bryan Samuels, MPP, Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Gary Blau, PhD, Chief, Child, Adolescent and Family Branch, Center for Mental Health Services, SAMHSA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Jim Wotring, MSW, Director, National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
The work of Georgetown's National TA Center for Children's Mental Health for Child and Family Mental Health is supported through an intra-agency Agreement between ACF/ACYF and SAMHSA/CMHS.
For additional materials associated with previous ACYF TA efforts, please CLICK HERE.
Child Welfare Activities and Initiatives
As part of the Child Welfare Initiative, the TA Center:
- Provides technical assistance and training for states, tribes, territories, communities, family organizations, national organizations and federal agencies on child welfare, behavioral health, and cross system issues;
- Assists child welfare and mental health leaders to build effective systems of care to produce better outcomes for children and youth, and their families;
- Facilitates collaboration between behavioral health and child welfare systems to improve outcomes for children and youth, and their families;
- Conducts relevant national studies of current and best practices and disseminates findings;
- Provides a cross-system voice in policy discussions on national task forces;
- Serves as a mental health systems of care resource for the federal Children’s Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network;
- Assists child welfare agencies to communicate effectively with families in the child welfare system about their rights and responsibilities and how to advocate for themselves;
- Promotes parent and family partnerships at every stage of policy making and service delivery decisions; and
- Offers Policy Academies that provide the opportunity for high-level, cross-system delegations to work together over 4 days to design and implement policies and practices to support system reforms.
Building Systems of Care: A Primer for Child Welfare, Pires, S., Lazear, K., and Conlan, L. (2008)
Financing Behavioral Health Services and Supports for Children, Youth and Families in the Child Welfare System - A Report of National Survey Findings, McCarthy, J., Le, L.T. (2008)
Building Systems of Care - A Primer for Child Welfare, Pires, S., Lazear, K., and Conlan, L. (2007)
Child and Family Service Reviews 2001-2004: A Mental Health Analysis, McCarthy, J., Van Buren, E., Irvine, M. (2007)
A Family’s Guide to the Child Welfare System, Second Edition, (2005)
Meeting the Health Care Needs of Children in the Foster Care System: Strategies for Implementation, Wolverton, M. (2002)
For more information about child welfare activities within the TA Center, please contact Debra Cady at 202-687-8855.