Policies on Ensuring Access to Physical & Mental Health Services

Ensuring Access to Physical & Mental Health Services  graphic

Office Moms and Dads Program Help Reduce Trauma

Idaho is piloting an Office Moms and Dads program, which calls on volunteers to come to the office and accompany children who have been removed from their homes while caseworkers research placement options. The response from staff in the pilot region has been so positive that Idaho is planning to expand this initiative statewide

To learn more, see the brief, "How can we ensure a child’s first placement is with family?"

Ventura County, CA Foster Health Link

This public/private initiative, launched in 2015, provides caregivers secure electronic access to up-to-date health information about the children in their care. Prior to 2015, caseworkers were required to deliver to foster parents paper copies of health records that were often out of date and fragmentary. Foster Health Link is a website and mobile application that pulls current health and education data from the state’s Child Welfare Services Case Management System (CWS/CMS) and the county health care agency regarding children’s immunizations, allergies, medical conditions, medications, well child physical and dental exams, Medi-Cal enrollment, as well as educational records.

See the playbook for more information.

Community Based Rehabilitation Services

Idaho provides Community Based Rehabilitation Services workers to help support children with significant developmental or behavioral needs in their home, school, or other community-based setting.This behavioral health services can make a difference in foster parents’ willingness or ability to accept placement of a child, particularly children with higher needs, and support placement stability from the start. 

To learn more, see the brief, "How can we ensure a child’s first placement is with family?"

Massachusetts Department of Children and Families Healthcare Reforms

In 2014, the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) convened a Task Force on Medical Services for children in foster care. As a result of the task force’s recommendations, DCF hired a medical director and medical social workers for each of the 29 DCF area offices. The medical social workers ensure that children receive a screening medical exam and comprehensive medical visit within one month of entering foster care, verify that visits are documented in the DCF database, provide care coordination, arrange medical follow-up, address insurance issues and provide support to foster caregivers.

See playbook for more information.

New Jersey Mobile Response and Stabilization Services (MRSS)

New Jersey created the Mobile Response and Stabilization Services (MRSS) to support children and families in crisis. Mobile response is delivered to children experiencing escalating emotional symptoms, behaviors, or traumatic circumstances that compromise their ability to function within their family, living situation, school, or community. The goal of MRSS is to provide intervention and support at the earliest moment families identify that help is needed. Under the MRSS intervention, administered by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) as part of the Children’s System of Care, a behavioral health worker is available to any family in the state at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Services offered include crisis de-escalation, in-home counseling, behavioral assistance, caregiver therapeutic support, intensive community-based services, skill-building and medication management. Mobile Response and Stabilization Services have consistently maintained over 94% of children in their placement at the time of service, including children who are involved with the child welfare system.

See this report from Casey Family Programs for more details.

Health Oversight and Coordination Plans (HOCP)

Ohio, Missouri and Washington are key examples of collaboration and demonstrated ability to overcome challenges in care delivery. A key feature of all three states is partnership with their state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Engaging AAP chapters in the HOCP development process offers agencies health expertise and the perspective of professionals currently caring for children in foster care. Missouri’s HOCP emphasizes trauma-informed care, data collection and sharing, and ongoing quality improvement. Ohio’s HOCP also adopts a trauma-informed approach and incorporates responses to parental opioid use and FASD. The Ohio HOCP outlines partnering with school health systems, medical homes, Medicaid managed care plans, and the Fostering Connections Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The Washington state HOCP reflects strengths in data and information sharing, upcoming integration of physical and behavioral health systems, and formal psychotropic medication utilization review.

See playbook for more information.