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Mental Health & Child Welfare

  Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools    
  • Mental Health and Child Welfare Resources 
    This NRCPFC resource handout provides a listing of resources on the topic of mental health and child welfare, including a description of each resource and a website address where it can be accessed online. (2010)

*Many of these resources were developed previously by the National Resource Center for
Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC).

  Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools    
  • The Relationship Between Youth Involvement in Bullying and Suicide
    The Journal of Adolescent Health has developed this online supplement containing nine articles examining the relationship between bullying and suicide among youth. This supplement reports on the findings of an expert panel that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened on the latest research linking youth involvement in bullying—as victims, perpetrators, or both—with suicide-related behaviors. Three of the key findings were: (1) Bullying among youth is a significant public health problem. (2) There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors, but this is often mediated by other factors, including depression and delinquency. (3) Public health strategies can be applied to the prevention of bullying and suicide. (July 2013)
  • CMCS Informational Bulletin on Prevention and Early Identification of Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions in Children 
    The Medicaid program provides coverage to 27 million children under age 18 in the United States. A core component of this coverage is the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit, which ensures that the health care needs of children and youth are addressed to maximize their growth and development. Prevention and early identification of health conditions, which is a key component of EPSDT, promotes positive health outcomes and can reduce health care costs across an individual’s lifespan. The Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) has issued this Informational Bulletin to help inform states about resources available to help them meet the needs of children under EPSDT, specifically with respect to mental health and substance use disorder services. (March 2013)
  • Tips on Core Competencies for Transition Service Providers
    This publication outlines areas of competencies that a transition service provider working with young people with mental health difficulties will need to develop in order to be effective. This resource was authored by Pauline Jivanjee, Eileen Brennan, and Claudia Sellmaier in consultation with the Pathways Transition Training Collaborative, mental health consumers, families, and service providers. (September 2012)
  • Trauma-Informed Care Emerging as Proven Treatment for Children, Adults with Behavioral, Mental Health Problems
    Children who are physically or sexually abused, or who go through other trauma-inducing experiences, can develop mental health disorders and related problems. Indeed, trauma can fundamentally affect how a young person grows and develops. Trauma-informed care is a treatment approach that explicitly acknowledges the role trauma plays in people’s lives. That approach is increasingly being developed and refined as a method of treatment by professionals working in medicine, mental health, education, foster care, juvenile justice, and other areas. 
    This brief article from Youth Law News, by Ta Lynn Mitchell, discusses: Exposure to Trauma; Trauma’s Effects; Trauma-Informed Care; Helping Native Youth; and Trauma-Informed Care in California, and Beyond. (2012) 
  • Selecting and Working with a Therapist Skilled in Adoption
    Adoption has a lifelong impact on those it touches, and members of adoptive families may want professional help when concerns arise. Timely intervention by a professional skilled in adoption, attachment, and trauma issues often can prevent concerns from becoming more serious problems. This factsheet from the Child Welfare Information Gateway offers information on the different types of therapy and providers available to help, and it offers suggestions on how to find an appropriate therapist. Foster parents also may find definitions and descriptions in this factsheet useful.  (2012) 
  • Effects of Separation and Loss on Children's Development
    This brief reviews the short-term and long-term impact of separation from or loss of parents due to death, divorce, incarceration, or removal to foster care on children's psychological development. Sections describe the short-term effects for children experiencing separation and loss during their first year, during the toddler years of 1-3, during the preschool years of 3-6, during the grade school years, and during adolescence. Strategies for minimizing the effects of the loss are discussed for each age group, along with possible long-range effects of the loss.
  • Being S.A.D.: Seasonal Affective Disorder
    In this YCteen article, Troy Shawn Welcome writes that, like many people, he feels a little depressed and disoriented during the winter months. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder, and he explains its symptoms and ways to deal with it.


  Research & Reports    
  • A Need to Know: Enhancing Adoption Competence Among Mental Health Professionals 
    Published by the Donaldson Adoption Institute, this research-based report recommends that mental health professionals receive more and better training on adoption-related issues.  The report highlights that one of the most frequent issues of members of adoptive and birth/first families is an inability to find psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and related practitioners who understand the unique, adoption-related issues that can affect their identities, their relationships and other important components of their lives. For a variety of reasons, mental health professionals typically do not receive the training required to fill adoption-related counseling needs and, too often, either do not fully understand why such training is necessary or mistakenly believe the knowledge they already have is sufficient. To address that reality, this report seeks to raise the level of professionals' awareness about the nature and importance of adoption clinical competence, heighten their desire to receive such training, and identify various means by which the relevant knowledge and skills can be obtained. (August 2013)
  • IRISS Insights, no. 21: Understanding Suicide and Self-Harm Amongst Children in Care and Care Leavers 
    Self-harm and suicide are complex issues which arouse difficult and distressing emotions both within people who hurt themselves and those who love and care for them. When children hurt or try to kill themselves, adults responsible for them often feel confused, powerless and overwhelmed. If these children are looked after away from their families then all the professionals involved with them must be able to provide them with the understanding and support they require. Examining the research and literature about self-harm and suicide is an essential element in developing understanding. Many important studies reported in this paper are quantitative or have been undertaken from a medical perspective, but in reviewing them it is important to maintain a focus on the pain and emotional complexities for all involved. “Insights” evidence summaries are published by IRISS (Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services) to support social services in Scotland. IRISS Insights no. 21 was written by Judy Furnivall. (June 2013)
  • National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2013 Short Report 
    This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report discusses the prevalence of mental health and other related challenges among children and youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, as well as trauma-informed SAMHSA programs, services, and initiatives that support their recovery and resilience. (2013)
  • MMWR Supplement: Mental Health Surveillance among Children in the United States, 2005-2011 
    The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) has developed this comprehensive report on children’s mental health in the United States. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) supplement, Mental Health Surveillance among Children in the United States, 2005-2011, describes federal efforts to monitor childhood mental disorders, and presents estimates of the number of children ages 3 to 17 years who have specific mental disorders. This report is an important step towards better understanding these disorders and the impact they have on children’s mental health. Childhood mental disorders can be treated and managed, and CDC has been working with several Federal agencies to help children reach their full potential in life. CDC developed this report in collaboration with key federal partners – the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Health Resources and Services Administration – compiling data from a variety of data sources between the years 2005 and 2011. (2013)
  • Supporting Parents with Mental Health Needs in Systems of Care Issue Brief 
    This study of community-based system of care sites was conducted to learn about efforts to assess parents’ mental health needs, effectively engage and support them, and improve system coordination and access to services. This issue brief is intended to inform system reform in child welfare and mental health, as well the child and adult service systems. This project was conducted for the Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health by Dr. Barbara Friesen, Portland State University, with the support of Dr. Joanne Nicholson, University of Massachusetts, and Ms. Judith Katz-Leavy, former policy advisor for Children’s Mental Health, Center for Mental Health Services.  The study was possible with support from the Children’s Bureau and the Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch of the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through an interagency agreement. (2011)

  Training & Curricula    
  • Mental Health Service Utilization and Outcomes for Children and Youth in the Child Welfare System
    This empirically-based curriculum from the California Social Work Education Center focuses on a number of issues related to mental health service utilization and outcomes among children in the child welfare system. It focuses on five areas: (a) demographic and system-related characteristics of children involved in both the child welfare and mental health systems; (b) clinical need for services, service utilization patterns, and association between mental health service utilization and child welfare outcomes; (c) policies affecting mental health service utilization by children in the child welfare system; (d) collaboration between child welfare and mental health systems; and (e) resources for collaboration and service provision for children and youth in both the child welfare and mental health systems. 

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Last updated 8/18/14