Children, youth, and families involved with child welfare often interact with other systems. The provision of quality behavioral health and wellness services require partnership and cooperation among these systems to ensure that services are coordinated and information is shared appropriately. This section provides guidance from the Children's Bureau encouraging States to coordinate across child welfare and other child-serving systems to improve well-being, in addition to resources related to enhancing partnerships and collaboration among child welfare, behavioral health, health-care, substance use, education, and other jurisdictions working with children, youth, and families.
The Behavioral Health and Wellness section has replaced both the Mental Health and the Substance Abuse sections on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website. Please update your bookmarks.
ACYF-CB-IM-12-04: Promoting Social and Emotional Well-Being for Children and Youth Receiving Child Welfare Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau (2012)
Explains the Administration on Children, Youth and Families' priority to promote social and emotional well-being for children and youth receiving child welfare services and encourages child welfare agencies to focus on improving the behavioral and social-emotional outcomes for children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect. The information memorandum also encourages States to coordinate across child welfare and health-care systems to meet requirements through joint planning, funding, and staffing.
Goodson, Gwaltney, & Klein Walker (2014)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Discusses interim findings from an evaluation of Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health), a Federal grant program administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to increase access to screening, assessment, and referral to appropriate services for young children and their families; expand use of culturally-relevant, evidence-based prevention and wellness promotion practices (EBPs); increase integration of behavioral health into primary care settings; improve coordination and collaboration across agencies serving young children and their families; and increase workforce knowledge of children's social and emotional development.
Improving Care Coordination and Service Linkages to Support Healthy Child Development: Early Lessons and Recommendations From a Five-State Consortium (PDF - 533 KB)
Hanlon & Rosenthal (2011)
National Academy for State Health Policy
Summarizes early findings from the current Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD III) learning collaborative of five States (Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Oregon) testing models to strengthen linkages and care coordination between pediatric primary care providers and community-based providers of early intervention, mental health, public health, and early care and education services. The States' early experiences piloting communication tools, facilitating data sharing, implementing quality improvement processes, and involving families are relevant for efforts to engage multisector stakeholders to improve State policy, primary care practice, and population health.
Improving Child Well-Being: Strengthening Collaboration Between the Child Welfare and Health Care Systems
Zlotnik, Scribano, Wood, & Noonan (2014)
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's PolicyLab & Safe Place
Explores collaborations between child welfare and medical providers and serves as a resource for States seeking to strengthen these collaborations across the continuum of child welfare services, from child protective services reporting and investigation to in-home protective services, foster care, and postreunification services. Part I describes the national policy context related to the promotion of child health and well-being; Part II examines promising and proven collaborative models related to the reporting and investigation of child maltreatment and the ongoing provision of child welfare services; and Part III concludes with a discussion about future directions for partnerships between child welfare and health-care systems.
National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention & Education Development Center (2012)
Aims to help local school and community partners address the complexities of information sharing about young people in multiple systems, including mental health, law enforcement, juvenile justice, child welfare, and other child-serving systems. This toolkit provides support to school and community providers to more effectively develop and navigate information-sharing systems, policies, and procedures.
Ready to Succeed: Changing Systems to Give California's Foster Children the Opportunities They Deserve to Be Ready for and Succeed in School (PDF - 1,567 KB)
The California Education Collaborative for Children in Foster Care (2008)
Identifies ways to reverse systemic failings in education that create an achievement gap for students in foster care. The report is the result of collaboration among representatives of the child welfare and public education fields as well as youth formerly in care, policymakers, legal system representatives, researchers, health-care providers, and advocates. Recommendations and implementation strategies to connect agencies, groups, or individuals that might not otherwise come together also are included.
Chuang & Wells (2010)
Children and Youth Services Review, 32(12)
Presents a study that examines associations for three dimensions of collaboration between local child welfare and juvenile justice agencies—jurisdiction, shared information systems, and overall connectivity—and youths' odds of receiving behavioral health services. Data were drawn from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, a national survey of families involved with child welfare. Findings showed that having a single agency accountable for youth care increased youth odds of receiving outpatient and inpatient behavioral health services, interagency sharing of administrative data increased youth odds of inpatient behavioral health service receipt, and clarifying agency accountability and linking databases across sectors may improve service access for youth involved with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
New Hampshire Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative (2013)
Establishes New Hampshire's first documented plan for an integrated and comprehensive system of behavioral health care for children and youth, presenting the action steps families, youth, leaders, professionals, and other stakeholders will take to achieve an effective system of care. The goals of the plan are to implement family-driven, youth-guided, culturally and linguistically competent services and systems; improve services and outcomes for children and youth with serious and complex behavioral health needs and their families; realign financing streams to better invest resources and supports; and create a sustainable infrastructure to provide ongoing training, effective services, and other workforce development strategies. For more information, visit the New Hampshire Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative website.