The Role of the Child Welfare System in Identifying Children’s Mental Health Needs
|March 3, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Children and Family, Federal Government, Health, Policy, Youth Development||
There is growing body of research that supports developmental screening and intervention for very young children in the child welfare system. According to a report from the National Center for Children in Poverty, Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Young Children in the Child Welfare System – What Every Policymaker Should Know, the younger the child (birth through age 5, specifically), the higher the likelihood they will come into contact with a component of the child welfare system. Further, many of those children have experienced neglect, abuse or other maltreatment – all of which may result in increased mental health needs.
In the report, authors Janice Cooper, Patti Banghart and Yumiko Aratani discuss the links between mental health and early childhood trauma. They also examine the role of early intervention in addressing the developmental needs of at-risk children since the inception of the 2003 Child Abuse and Prevention Act, which made mandatory the identification and referral of children to such services by child welfare agencies. Some of their recommendations for future policy directions include:
- Use of the Affordable Care Act to ensure young children access to mental health services.
- Design and track a set of outcomes related to mental health and overall wellness for children involved in the child welfare system.
- Allow states to be innovative in approaching how to best provide and pay for both early childhood intervention and parent and/or family services.
If you work with, develop programs for, or make policy that impacts at-risk children, this topical brief is an excellent resource on the issues surrounding mental health supports for young children in the child welfare system. The complete report is available at the National Center for Children in Poverty’s website.
Report citation: Cooper, Janice L., Patti Banghart & Yumiko Aratani. Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Young Children in the Child Welfare System: What Every Policymaker Should Know. September 2010. National Center for Children in Poverty.