NCYL is working to make sure out-of-county foster children receive the mental health care they need.
Dec. 29, 2010 — The California Child Welfare Council has unanimously approved a framework for ensuring access to mental health services for “out-of-county” foster youth.
- Photo by Guillermo Ossa
Approximately 15,000 children — 20 percent of all foster youth in California — are placed in foster care outside the county where they lived when they first became dependents of the state. It is much more difficult for these “out-of-county” foster children than for other foster children to get the mental health care that most of them need.
Under current policies, even when these young people move, the responsibility for providing mental health services remains with their county of jurisdiction. Since each county in California has its own system of mental health services, the administrative structure leads to frequent and lengthy delays in providing medically necessary services to out-of-county youth, or to youth not receiving them at all. These delays and failures are harmful to the development and well-being of vulnerable foster youth.
NCYL has worked closely with the California Child Welfare Council (CWC) since 2008 to draft solutions to this problem. In 2010, the CWC unanimously approved a framework to ensure that out-of-county foster children have access to mental health care. NCYL will continue to work with the CWC on the issue. The CWC, established in 2006 by AB 2216 (legislation sponsored by NCYL), advises mental health and child welfare agencies on policies.
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