The Weekly MashUp is a recurring segment on Hear Me Out, the Young Minds’ Blog, highlighting the most pertinent local and national news for children’s mental health advocates. If you haven’t already, sign up to be on our email list to get the Weekly MashUp delivered to your inbox automatically, every Friday!
The Front Lines of Children’s Mental Health: Coordinated Care and Home-Based Services (Two-part Series)
The Chronicle of Social Change – 12.3.14
In a two-part series posted this week, The Chronicle of Social Change highlights how community-based mental health services, such as those mandated by Katie A. vs. Bonta, have impacted the life of one young boy in California’s foster care system. Katie A. was brought against the State of California over its lack of community-based mental health services for young people in the foster care system, like eight-year-old Michael. Having experienced significant trauma in early childhood, Michael was prone to outbursts and periodic aggressive behavior, and his foster parents felt unable to handle him. Michael was referred to Fred Finch Youth Center in an attempt to stabilize his placement, where he began receiving Intensive Care Coordination (ICC) services, one of the newly mandated services stemming from Katie A. . Although the process was not without difficulty, through these highly individualized services, Michael’s behavior has stabilized, and he has been able to stay in his foster home as he prepares to reunite with his biological family.
This series exemplifies/illustrates the strengths of ICC services, which are built around a “Child and Family Care Team” that includes any adult who has a significant impact on the life of the child. Together, the care team assesses the needs and strengths of the child and his or her family, to determine which interventions are necessary. As Patrick Gardner, a lead attorney in the Katie A. case and president of Young Minds Advocacy Project, puts it: “Part of the reason this team approach is so valuable is because, fundamentally, it takes a family to raise a child, and that family can made up of both informal and formal connections; so if you don’t have a strong care coordinator, it just doesn’t work.”
REPORT: Evaluation Provides Unprecedented Information About the Experiences of California Foster Youth
Chapin Hall and California Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership – 12.3.14
The first results from the much anticipated “California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study” (CalYOUTH), reveal the need for improvement in mental health services for youth in California’s foster care system. The study is part of an ongoing five year project to assess the effects of extended foster care (also known as AB 12, the bill that authorized extended foster care) on youths’ outcomes. Yesterday, the authors of the study released their baseline findings, which were the result of surveying over 700 17-year-old foster youth on a variety of issues related to their experience in the foster care system, such as education, employment, emotional well-being and physical and mental health. The results regarding mental health are cause for concern, as over half of the youth surveyed were found to have a positive diagnosis for one or more mental and behavioral health condition, and nearly one quarter of them had attempted suicide at some point.
In the project’s next stage, the researchers will delve more deeply into the foster youths’ responses, and examine how experiences differ across youth subgroups.
Read the full report.
How Sacramento turns at-risk kids into criminals
Sacramento News & Review – 11. 27. 14
Currently, the largest mental health institutions in the U.S. are jails and prisons because of a lack of available mental health services for adults. Unfortunately, the same is true for children and teens with mental health conditions. Increasingly, youth end up in juvenile detention facilities because of a lack of decent alternatives. For example, in Sacramento, California, a study by the Sacramento County Criminal Justice Cabinet found that “nearly 43% of the average daily juvenile hall population received mental health services this year, a 19% increase over 2000.” According to Sacramento News & Review, “
The Rx Alliance that Drugs Our Kids
San Jose Mercury News – 11.23.14
This latest installment of the series “Drugging Our Kids,” by The San Jose Mercury News, highlights the influence drug companies may have over doctors prescribing medications for youth in California’s foster care system. According to the Mercury’s investigation, drugmakers spent more than $14 million between 2010 and 2013 on research grants, gifts, meals, and trips for doctors who care for foster youth. While it’s not unusual for drug companies to finance these types of perks for doctors, the investigation found they spent on average more than double on the state’s foster care prescribers than the typical California physician. Karen de Sa, author of the series, writes, “The connection raises concerns that…unsuspecting youth have been caught in the middle of a big-money alliance that could be helping to drive the rampant use of psychiatric medications in the state’s foster care system.”
Other news for this week:
Typical ADHD Care Leaves Room for Improvement, Study Finds
HealthDay – 12.3.14
Mindfulness helps teens cope with stress, anxiety
Associated Press – 12. 2.14
What do you think of the Weekly MashUp?
Thank you for reading our Weekly MashUp each and every week! Our goal is to continue to expand our coverage on issues that matter to children’s mental health advocates like YOU! Do you have suggestions for how we could improve the Weekly MashUp? Please send us your feedback! We look forward to hearing from you!
**News stories shared by Young Minds in the Weekly MashUp do not necessarily represent the views of the organization.