On September, 22, 2016, the California Departments of Social Services and Health Care Services jointly released the Medi-Cal Manual for Intensive Care Coordination (ICC), Intensive Home Based Servicers (IHBS) & Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) for Medi-Cal Beneficiaries, Second Edition. Most notably, the manual clarifies that these intensive mental health services are available for ALL Medi-Cal eligible youth who meet medical necessity—not just foster youth.
The revised Medi-Cal Manual updates service delivery guidelines for ICC, IHBS, and TFC – also known as Katie A. services, named for the 2003 landmark class-action lawsuit Katie A. v Bonta. ICC, IHBS, and TFC are services provided in a young person’s home, school, or recreation center rather than in clinics, doctors’ offices or congregate facilities. Katie A. services focus on a young person’s strengths and individual goals, connecting youth and their families with skills, supports, and services needed to thrive.
Despite numerous pleas for assistance, “Katie,” the named plaintiff in Katie A. v Bonta, failed to receive the mental health treatment she needed. Instead, Katie moved through 37 different placements in 10 years, including psychiatric facilities and group homes. Over a decade later, the services bearing Katie’s name provide young people with individualized treatments in their homes and communities, together with feedback and encouragement from a child’s family and support network. Although Katie was a foster youth, Katie A. services can be accessed by all Medical-eligible youth who meet medical necessity – including, but not limited to, youth involved in child welfare. The revised Medi-Cal manual reaffirms this eligibility expansion – an important clarification that could result in thousands more young people with serious mental health needs receiving Katie A. services.
In addition, the Second Edition Manual intends to improve care coordination by social services and mental health agencies and workers, and help prevent out-of-home placements for children with unmet mental health needs. The revised manual also addresses Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC), a specialized community-based treatment added to the Katie A. service array in February 2016. TFC enables young people to access treatment in a family setting with specially trained foster parents – avoiding hospitalization or residential placement.
Through the promise of Katie A., California youth with serious mental health needs can receive the home and community-based care they are entitled to. When this goal is fully achieved, more than 35,000 youth in California could receive Katie A. services – including ICC, IHBS, and TFC – in a nurturing and least-restrictive environment.
Suicide Prevention Month is Over, But We Always Fight On
CMHACY – 9.29.16
Drugging Our Kids: Governor Signs Bills to Curb Psych Drugs Prescribed to California Foster Youth
The Mercury News – 9.29.16
The 4 Traits That Put Kids at Risk for Addiction
The New York Times – 9.29.16
Brown Signs Bill to Close Mental Health Gap for California’s “Out-of-County” Foster Youth
The Chronicle of Social Change – 9.27.16
Let’s Call Mental Health Stigma What It Really Is: Discrimination
The Huffington Post – 9.27.16