Access to Mental Health Services for Foster Children Placed Out of County: Observations and Recommendations.
Martyna, Bryn. Gardner, Patrick. Hayat, Zahra.
National Center for Youth Law. Young Minds Advocacy Project.
iii, 35 p.
Published: January 2013
Sponsoring Organization: Alameda County (Calif.) Health Care Services Agency.
This report explores the difficulties in providing mental health services to foster youth when they placed across county lines in California. It begins by providing background information on the mental health needs of children in foster care, the impact of unmet mental health needs, and the disparate access to mental health services for California foster children that live inside and outside the counties in which they entered care. The regulatory and statutory framework for provision of mental health services to out-of-county foster youth in California is reviewed, and data is provided on foster youth placed out-of-county by Alameda County and their access to mental health services. It reports that in 2012, there were 2,006 foster children in Alameda County and 946 were placed out of the county, that the county places a disproportionately high percentages of its FFA and group home youth in out-of-county placements (60 to 70% compared to about 20% statewide), and that children in out-of-county placements overall receive both less care and less intensive treatment than foster youth placed in-county. Recommendations are then made and include: a statewide policy of presumptive transfer for foster youth placed out of county, a statewide policy of collectively funding services for foster youth placed out-of-county, collaboration among youth-serving agencies to reduce out-of-county group home placements, and gathering of data and collaborating with other counties that share common interest. 100 references.
foster children; child placement; county social service agencies; funding; mental health services; California