Mental health is an essential part of our overall health and well-being. It is as important as our physical health needs and affects how we think, feel, and act.

Youth served by child welfare may have experienced trauma, frequently changing life situations, and a lack of access to quality mental health services. Youth in care should be involved in decisions about their mental health care, including the prescription of psychotropic medications.

Child welfare and related professionals should provide screening to identify early, tailored intervention services that support a youth’s emotional well-being. Supporting youth mental health should include assessments that consider the youth’s culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and special needs.

Young people may experience increased stress in times of uncertainty or crisis, such as when entering care, being placed in an unfamiliar environment, or exiting the foster care system. These are the times when accessing resources to support their mental health is most important. 

Use the resources on this page to find strategies to help child welfare professionals support the mental health needs of youth.

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Can’t find what you need in the filtered results? Try searching our Library catalog to access a large selection of peer-reviewed journal articles, evaluation reports, Children’s Bureau grant materials, research studies, and more.