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Collaboration Between Child Welfare and Mental Health Services. A CalSWEC Curriculum Module Created by Sigrid James, PhD, LCSW & Lynne Marsenich, LCSW December 2010 . SECTION I: A Primer on Collaboration. I.1 Free Association Exercise I.2 Why Collaborate?

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Collaboration Between Child Welfare and Mental Health Services


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    1. Collaboration Between Child Welfare and Mental Health Services A CalSWEC Curriculum Module Created by Sigrid James, PhD, LCSW & Lynne Marsenich, LCSW December 2010 \

    2. SECTION I: A Primer on Collaboration • I.1 Free Association Exercise • I.2 Why Collaborate? • I.3 The Messiness of Terminology

    3. I.1 “FREE ASSOCIATION” COLLABORATION

    4. SECTION I: A Primer on Collaboration • I.1 Free Association Exercise • I.2 Why Collaborate? • I.3 The Messiness of Terminology

    5. Why Collaborate??? • Interagency collaboration is mandated by many policies regulating services for children and families. • Many experts view collaboration as a key solution to addressing the complex needs of children in the child welfare system. • Collaboration is believed to have many benefits.

    6. Why Collaboration Between Child Welfare & Mental Health? • Complementary policy agendas and mandates • Common goals • “Best interest of the child” • Serving children in the most home- and community-like setting possible • Family-centered practices and policies • Similarities in client characteristics • Children in CW have a high rate of mental health problems • Children and families involved with MH often have similar backgrounds of abuse, poverty, substance abuse, etc.

    7. Soooo… Why is it so darn hard?

    8. SECTION I: A Primer on Collaboration • I.1 Free Association Exercise • I.2 Why Collaborate? • I.3 The Messiness of Terminology

    9. Inter-organizational relationships Boundary spanning Co-operation Co-ordination Coalition Alliance Integration Coupling mechanism Symbiotic arrangement Partnership Team approach Multidisciplinary… Interdisciplinary… Cross-disciplinary… Co-production interventions Cross-system… The Messiness of Terminology

    10. “Meanings” • Joint ‘decision making,’ etc. • Shared ‘commitment,’ etc. • Interchangeability of some function • Co-accountability for outcome • Active participatory process • Functional mutuality • Multi-party problem solving

    11. Defining Collaboration “Definitions are crucial to theory building. A general theory of collaboration must begin with a definition of the phenomena that encompasses all observable forms and excludes irrelevant issues. We began our work on these special issues assuming a commonly accepted definition of collaboration existed and that we could move quickly beyond this primal task. Instead, we found a welter of definitions, each having something to offer and none being entirely satisfactory by itself” (Wood & Gray, 1991, p.143).

    12. Defining Collaboration (2) • Latin – “to work with/jointly” • “A process for reaching goals that cannot be achieved efficiently by working alone” (Olson, 2003) • “A means of bridging service gaps and providing for more appropriate and flexible services that could not otherwise be offered by any one organization” (Budman & Steenbarger, 1997)

    13. Defining Collaboration (3) • “A fluid process through which a group of diverse, autonomous actors (organizations and individuals) undertakes a joint initiative, solves shared problems, or otherwise achieves common goals” (Abramson & Rosenthal, 1995) • “A process through which parties who see different aspects of a problem can constructively explore their differences and search for solutions that go beyond their own limited vision of what is possible” (Gray, 1989, p.5)

    14. A Few Notes… • Collaboration refers to the process • Collaboration should be a means to an end, not an end in and of itself • Collaborative alliances are the forms

    15. Sounds great, but… • Although there is general agreement of the need of and benefits for collaboration, knowledge is limited about • “how collaboration functions, • its goals, • the types of structural criteria essential to its function, • and whether collaboration actually contributes to better decision-making, legitimate decisions and just distribution of welfare” (Willumsen & Skivenes, 2005)

    16. Section II: Understanding the Child Welfare and Mental Health System • II.1 Image Exchange Activity • II.2 Playing “CW/MH Jeopardy” – The Table • II.3 The Policy Context of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4 The Intersection of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4.1 Assessment of Mental Health Need • II.4.2 Differential Response • II.4.3 Trauma • II.4.4 Promoting Child Welfare and Mental Health Goals • II.4.5 Cultural Competency: Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Disparities in Mental Health

    17. How do you see yourself as a CW professional? How do you see / What are your perceptions of MH professionals? How you think MH professionals see you? What do you want a MH professional to understand about your job? How do you see yourself as a MH professional? How do you see / What are your perceptions of CW professionals? How you think CW professionals see you? What do you want a CW professional to understand about your job? Image Exchange Activity

    18. Section II: Understanding the Child Welfare and Mental Health System • II.1 Image Exchange Activity • II.2 Playing “CW/MH Jeopardy” – The Table • II.3 The Policy Context of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4 The Intersection of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4.1 Assessment of Mental Health Need • II.4.2 Differential Response • II.4.3 Trauma • II.4.4 Promoting Child Welfare and Mental Health Goals • II.4.5 Cultural Competency: Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Disparities in Mental Health

    19. Section II: Understanding the Child Welfare and Mental Health System • II.1 Image Exchange Activity • II.2 Playing “CW/MH Jeopardy” – The Table • II.3 The Policy Context of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4 The Intersection of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4.1 Assessment of Mental Health Need • II.4.2 Differential Response • II.4.3 Trauma • II.4.4 Promoting Child Welfare and Mental Health Goals • II.4.5 Cultural Competency: Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Disparities in Mental Health

    20. Policy Context – Mental Health • 1983 - Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) encouraged collaborations with other child-serving systems (Systems of Care) • 1992 – Expansion of CASSP; Comprehensive Community MH Services for Children and Their Families Program, established by CMHS/SAMHSA • 2003 – New Freedom Commission on Mental Health; identified transformation of children’s MH services as a national priority

    21. Policy Context – Mental Health (2) • 1997 - SB 163 Establishment of Wraparound • 2004 – Mental Health Services Act

    22. Policy Context – Child Welfare • 1980 Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act • 1993 Family Preservation and Support Services Act • 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act • 2003 CWS Redesign, CA

    23. Section II: Understanding the Child Welfare and Mental Health System • II.1 Image Exchange Activity • II.2 Playing “CW/MH Jeopardy” – The Table • II.3 The Policy Context of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4 The Intersection of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4.1 Assessment of Mental Health Need • II.4.2 Differential Response • II.4.3 Trauma • II.4.4 Promoting Child Welfare and Mental Health Goals • II.4.5 Cultural Competency: Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Disparities in Mental Health

    24. Identification of Mental Health Need • Research based on studies across several states suggest that between 50 to 75% of children entering foster care exhibit behavioral and emotional problems that warrant mental health intervention • There is also evidence that this high rate of need may also be anticipated for children who remain at home (Leslie, Hurlburt, Landsverk, Barth, & Slymen, 2004) • In addition, there is evidence that youth with poorly treated mental health problems are less may be less likely to be reunified or adopted (Connell, Katz, Saunders, & Tebes, 2006)

    25. Potential for Reducing Out-of-Home Care • Children who receive timely mental health assessments and access to mental health care are less likely to need out-of-home placement • This is especially important because a high number of children referred to child welfare are receiving services at home (Glisson & Green, 2006)

    26. Benefits of Collaboration on Receipt of Mental Health Services • Some research suggests that interagency coordination increases the likelihood that child welfare youth in need of mental health services actually receive services. • In addition decreases in mental health disparities for African American youth have been observed (Hurlburt et al., 2004)

    27. Challenges • Despite increased recognition of the mental health needs of youth in the child welfare system accessing mental health assessments and services continue to be problematic in most counties. • Collaborative arrangements between child welfare and mental health service providers have the potential to contribute to a solution to this problem.

    28. Section II: Understanding the Child Welfare and Mental Health System • II.1 Image Exchange Activity • II.2 Playing “CW/MH Jeopardy” – The Table • II.3 The Policy Context of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4 The Intersection of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4.1 Assessment of Mental Health Need • II.4.2 Differential Response • II.4.3 Trauma • II.4.4 Promoting Child Welfare and Mental Health Goals • II.4.5 Cultural Competency: Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Disparities in Mental Health

    29. Differential Response • Differential response is a recent child welfare reform which offers an alternative to the allegation-driven child protective service response to reports of abuse and neglect. • Alternative responses allow child welfare agencies to intervene with families in more supportive ways, often focusing on assessing family needs and strengths and providing services.

    30. Differential Response Necessitates Collaboration • Successful implementation of differential response requires that child welfare agencies develop extensive collaborative relationships with other agencies and organizations including work processes and protocols. • Collaboration with mental health providers has the potential to ensure that timely and effective services are provided for children and families

    31. Benefits for Children and Families • Collaboration should focus on the provision of mental health services which target the specific emotional and behavioral problems of children and families referred to child welfare – trauma, substance abuse, parental mental illness and disruptive behavior problems. • This may result in more families receiving help to stabilize and ameliorate the circumstances that are potentially harmful to children, avoiding the need for longer term child welfare involvement.

    32. Section II: Understanding the Child Welfare and Mental Health System • II.1 Image Exchange Activity • II.2 Playing “CW/MH Jeopardy” – The Table • II.3 The Policy Context of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4 The Intersection of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4.1 Assessment of Mental Health Need • II.4.2 Differential Response • II.4.3 Trauma • II.4.4 Promoting Child Welfare and Mental Health Goals • II.4.5 Cultural Competency: Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Disparities in Mental Health

    33. Trauma • By definition children entering the child welfare system are among the most vulnerable and are at risk to developing trauma related mental health problems. • Children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect and placed in substitute care have an extremely high risk of mental health problems, especially traumatic stress.

    34. How Might Collaboration Help? • Ensure that all children removed from home receive a screening for trauma symptoms • Joint training to better understand the impact of trauma on the child and strategies for decreasing traumatic stress • Immediate support to substitute caregivers to help children manage and cope with overwhelming emotions • Short-term supportive intervention (at the time of removal) to help children make sense of their experiences.

    35. Section II: Understanding the Child Welfare and Mental Health System • II.1 Image Exchange Activity • II.2 Playing “CW/MH Jeopardy” – The Table • II.3 The Policy Context of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4 The Intersection of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4.1 Assessment of Mental Health Need • II.4.2 Differential Response • II.4.3 Trauma • II.4.4 Promoting Child Welfare and Mental Health Goals • II.4.5 Cultural Competency: Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Disparities in Mental Health

    36. Mental Health Services that Promote Child Welfare Goals • Provision of mental health intervention to caregivers to help decrease stress and increase parenting competencies positively effects placement stability, permanency and child well-being. • Evidence-based parenting, trauma and foster parent training and support practices have demonstrated: • Improvements in social and emotional competencies for youth • Decreases in youth behavior problems • Increases in caregiver coping and child management skills • Decreases in placement disruption

    37. Collaboration to Promote Mental Health Goals • Collaboration between mental health and child welfare increases the likelihood that problems will be identified at onset when opportunities for preventing maladaptive behaviors are greatest • Prevents greater suffering for children • Decreases need for more intense and costly services

    38. Collaboration to Promote Mental Health Goals (2) • Collaboration may increase continuity of care for children and adolescents receiving mental health services • Continuity of care is critical to achieving positive mental health outcomes but is often compromised when youth are moved to a new placement without input from the mental health provider

    39. The Need for Collaboration • Ensuring that mental health services target child welfare goals and vice versa requires cross system collaboration • Service providers should develop frameworks for documenting how both systems support each other’s goals. This includes: • Exchanging information • Coordinating assessments • Planning and delivering care • Collaboration enables all helping professionals to see the child and family in context and may prevent potentially competing priorities.

    40. Section II: Understanding the Child Welfare and Mental Health System • II.1 Image Exchange Activity • II.2 Playing “CW/MH Jeopardy” – The Table • II.3 The Policy Context of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4 The Intersection of Child Welfare and Mental Health • II.4.1 Assessment of Mental Health Need • II.4.2 Differential Response • II.4.3 Trauma • II.4.4 Promoting Child Welfare and Mental Health Goals • II.4.5 Cultural Competency: Disproportionality in Child Welfare and Disparities in Mental Health

    41. Racial and Ethnic Disproportionality in Child Welfare • Children and youth from some racial and ethnic groups are overrepresented in the child welfare system. • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2003 that although African American children accounted for 15% of the population, they made up 25% of victims in substantiated maltreatment cases and 45% of children in foster care (Chibnell et al., 2003)

    42. Disproportionality in Child Welfare • Disproportionality is best described as overrepresentation. • The racial and ethnic make-up of the child welfare population is usually compared with the racial and ethnic make-up of the general population. • So disproportionality refers to the fact that some racial or ethnic groups of children and families are represented in child welfare populations at levels that are disproportionate to their numbers in the overall family or child population (Courtney & Skyles, 2003)

    43. Mechanisms Through Which Disproportionality Occurs • Entry into the child welfare system occurs at higher rates for some racial and ethnic groups • For example, substantiated child protective service referrals are higher for African American and Native American children • Exits from the child welfare system (through reunification, guardianship or adoption) occur at slower rates • African American children have greater lengths of stay than any other group in the child welfare system

    44. Factors Contributing to Disproportionality Early childhood development and early intervention services • Data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) suggests: • White children are more likely to remain at home than to be removed following an investigation for child maltreatment • African American children are less likely to receive developmental services than white children (Stahmer, Leslie, Hulburt, Barth, Webb & Landsverk, 2005)

    45. Factors Contributing to Disproportionality (2) Mental health need, access and utilization • Studies utilizing NSCAW data reveal: • African American children do not demonstrate elevated need as a group, but show significant unmet need among school aged children when other variables are controlled • African American children, ages 6-10, displayed a high level of need and were found to have a significantly reduced likelihood of receiving mental health care when compared to children of other ethnicities in the same age group (Burns et al., 2004)

    46. Mental Health Disparities • Disparity is used to describe differences in access to care, utilization of care or quality of care. • Disparity implies an underlying connection to need. • Given comparable levels of need, one would expect equal utilization of services. • The term “unmet need” is also used in research to describe the differences between racial and ethnic groups and use of mental health services.

    47. Mental Health Disparities (2) • Studies indicate that African American, Asian/Pacific Islander and Latino youth have higher rates of unmet mental health needs and lower rates of service utilization compared to White youth (Hough et al., 2002; Kataoka et al., 2002)

    48. Factors Contributing to Mental Health Disparities • Barriers in access and utilization are significant contributors to understanding disparities for racial and ethnic groups. • Barriers include: • Lack of funding for services • Geographic location of services • Lack of knowledge of available services • Problems with engagement and retention in treatment • Limited availability of linguistically competent providers and culturally-ethnic specific providers (Snowden & Yamada, 2005)

    49. Factors Contributing to Mental Health Disparities (2) • Parental cultural factors • Values, beliefs and or/behaviors • Level of parental acculturation found to be related to disparities in mental health service use (Ho, Yeh, McCabe & Hough, 2007) • Among children found to be at high risk for Attention-Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) girls and African American children were the least likely to get an evaluation or if diagnosed to get treatment • African American parents reported more stigma related barriers to care and expressed more negative expectations from treatment (Bussing, Zima, Gary & Garvan, 2003)