Mental and behavioral health challenges are common risk factors for child welfare involvement. Culturally responsive and equitable services that cater to diverse communities can increase resiliency and strengthen protective factors keeping children safe and families thriving.

Everyone can benefit from mental and behavioral health supports, but not everyone has easy, equitable access. Child welfare professionals have the unique opportunity to screen for and identify challenges, and they can make referrals for early, individualized, and trauma-informed interventions to support the emotional well-being of children, youth, and families. The Family First Prevention Services Act is one way to receive funds and access for these services.

Substance use disorders and mental health challenges can sometimes co-occur, requiring more complex support approaches. Families may be engaged in multiple treatment plans that may not line up with court timelines. Understanding the potential for co-occurrence is vital for assessing and providing appropriate treatment referrals for families. Collaboration between child welfare agencies, mental and behavioral health treatment providers, and other community-based organizations can help families receive holistic and equitable services.

Use these resources to better understand the impact of these issues and how to support families experiencing these challenges. 

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