Reforming Mental Health Services for Children in Foster Care: The Role of Child Welfare Class Action Lawsuits and Systems of Care.
Oppenheim, Elizabeth. Lee, Rashelle. Lichtenstein, Carolyn. Bledsoe, Katrina L. Fisher, Sylvia K.
Published: October-December 2012
Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services
Vol. 93, No. 4 , p. 287-294
Alliance for Children and Families
11700 West Lake Park Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53224
During the last 3 decades, implementation of systems of care and child welfare class action litigation have been common, often parallel, strategies used to improve the provision of mental health services for children. This article examines the extent to which the requirements of child welfare consent decrees and implementation plans include indicators of the system of care approach. A review of 10 selected child welfare lawsuits involving mental health services for foster care children was conducted. This review revealed that the principles guiding service provision were more predominant than indicators of interagency collaboration and coordination for services between child welfare and mental health. Findings suggest that building the foundation of systems of care--interagency collaboration--continues to be a challenge. (Author abstract)
Mental health; Foster care; Foster children; Child welfare; Mental health services; Systems of care; Lawsuits