Katie A is a case that was brought on behalf of a young girl who experienced multiple placements and inadequate mental health services while in the foster care system. The state of California agreed to a settlement agreement which was to take the necessary steps to transform the way children in foster care, or who are at risk of higher level placement, receive timely access to quality mental health services. The approach is to foster collaboration between the Child Welfare System (CWS) and Children’s Mental Health (CMH) and the community. Our collaboration began in the summer of 2013 and there are now procedures in place for all open child welfare cases with full scope Medi-Cal to be screened and referred as appropriate to Children’s Mental Health.
For those children who meet the criteria for the Katie A subclass CMH staff and CWS staff meet with the family and form the Child Family Team (CFT) where they discuss possible/recommended services, such as EPSDT services, TBS, Therapeutic Foster care and Wraparound with the family. The CFT follows the Core Practice Model (CPM) which supports the voice of the child and family in a culturally appropriate way while meeting the mental health needs of the child. Monitoring and adapting services is a shared responsibility of the CFT and is an ongoing part of every CFT meeting as is on-going ‘need to know’ communication between the CFT and family. Monitoring includes reassessment of the child as appropriate, and the goals, interventions and services to assure progress is made toward the CFT established goals.
Children’s Mental Health and CWS staff meets regularly along with a Training Specialist from the Bay Area Academy which provides the Katie A learning collaborative for counties. The first of a community stakeholder meeting was held in Feb and the second in August 2014. Input from the stakeholders are addressed and incorporated as appropriate. Staff from both systems has been sent for training on ‘teaming’ and on ‘facilitation’. This collaboration has built on a long standing cooperative relationship between CWS and Children’s Mental Health. In this first year there were 25 children certified as Katie A subclass members who received Katie A intensive case coordination and other services as appropriate.