The child welfare field, in line with other social sciences disciplines, has moved toward using the term behavioral health to refer to "a state of mental/emotional well-being and/or choices and actions that affect wellness."1 This broader, strengths-based perspective of health acknowledges that wellness is a lifelong process that occurs across eight domains that can affect quality of life: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual.2 This definition aligns with the three tenets of the Children's Bureau's work—improving the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families.
Wellness is not only a goal for children and families involved with child welfare but also for professionals and the organizations in which they work. Research shows that improving organizational climates in child welfare agencies may enhance outcomes for the children, youth, and families they serve.3 To provide a more holistic view of wellness, this section offers information, materials, and tools for supporting and promoting the behavioral health and wellness of children and families involved with child welfare, in addition to resources on worker and organizational wellness.
- Compliance with Federal behavioral health and wellness laws
- Cross-system collaboration to support behavioral health & wellness
- Impact of substance use on the child welfare system
- Understanding psychotropic medications
2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (n.d.). Eight dimensions of wellness: A holistic guide to whole-person wellness. (back)
3 Williams & Glisson. (2014) Testing a theory of organizational culture, climate and youth outcomes in child welfare systems: A United States national study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(4). doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.09.003 (back)