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Presented at the 19th Annual Research Conference

Meeting the Needs of Children in the Child Welfare System with Mental Health Challenges: Part I

Download Handouts: 425kb pdf

Session Number: 13 Room: Salon H

Presentation Type: symposium

Chair: Jan McCarthy Discussant:

Synopsis: Research has demonstrated that a high percentage of children in the foster care system have significant mental heatlh challenges. Communities face special challenges in serving these children and their families, both biological and foster. This symposium will begin with an overview of the problem and then will begin to look at approaches to addressing the problem. The first approach will be through class action lawsuits that build on research about effective interventions for children in the child welfare system. Other approaches will include the use of individualized interventions and a wraparound process for children and their families.

Date: Thursday, February 23, 2006

Session Time: 1:15 PM - 2:45 PM

Presentation Time: 1:15 PM - 2:45 PM

An Overview of the Issue: Prevalence, Unmet Need, Typical Approaches Used

We're sorry, handouts are not available for this presentation.

Presenting: Jan McCarthy

All Authors for this paper: Jan McCarthy

Presentation Type: element of symposium

Synopsis: Jan McCarthy will discuss the prevalence of mental health problems among children in foster care, some challenges and solutions to addressing those problems, trends and changes in the child welfare system, and a summary of findings from a mental health analysis of the Child and Family Service Reviews. Jan will also describe the focus of a settlement agreement regarding Washington state’s foster care system and the mental health issues that are being addressed through that agreement. Jan is a member of the Braam Panel which oversees this settlement agreement.

System Change: A Legal Advocate's View

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Presenting: Ira Burnim

All Authors for this paper: Ira Burnim

Presentation Type: element of symposium

Synopsis: Based on years of experience in system reform, Ira Burnim will present his perspective on "what's broke" and how to fix it. He will argue that, at base, our systems fail because they lack faith in children's capacities, refuse to partner with families, and fail to support front-line staff to "do whatever it takes." He will discuss the strenghts and weaknesses of using litigation to effect system reform, reviewing results from past efforts. Special attention will be given to three litigation-driven reform efforts: Alabama's child welfare reform under the R.C. decree, Arizona's children's mental health reform under the J.K. settlement, and reforms being sought in California in the Katie A. case on behalf of children in foster care with mental health needs.