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Foster Care Toolkit

Health Care for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities


Behavioral Health Toolkit for Medical Providers (from Optum)

Includes recommended assessments for mental health conditions, tools to address substance use, clinical guidelines, and other tools.

Live and Work Well (from Optum)

 (NOTE: Use “clinician” for log in). In the “Mind & Body” drop down section there are resources for youth depression, anxiety, ADHD and other issues.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) guidance on screening for trauma

Trauma-informed Mental Health Assessment (from NCTSN)

Child Welfare Information Gateway (from U.S. Department of HHS, Administration for Children & Families, Children’s Bureau)

Guidance on screening and assessing child mental health.

PTSD Screening Tool (from American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry)

Suicide Screening Tool (from National Institute of Mental Health)

Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC) (from Massachusetts General Hospital)

Recognize psychosocial problems and improve treatment for children.

Complex Trauma Standardized Measures (from NCTSN)

American Academy of Pediatrics clinical assessment tools  Tools that can specifically assist in treatment for children who have been exposed to trauma and violence.

High Fidelity Wrap Around Approach

(from National Wraparound Initiative)

Screening for Identification of Behavioral Health Needs (from Optum)

Behavioral health issues among children in foster care

3% of Medicaid non-disabled child enrollees are in foster care, and account for 15% of behavioral health services used by Medicaid children.

Behavioral conditions are in the top 3 common health conditions among children in foster care:

  • ADHD: 16%
  • Asthma: 16%
  • Emotional problems/issues: 14%

Children in foster care, compared to other children, are:

  • 2X as likely to have learning disabilities and developmental delays
  • 3X as likely to have ADD/ADHD
  • 5X as likely to have anxiety
  • 6X as likely to have behavioral problems/issues/conditions
  • 7X as likely to have depression

 Medicaid Children in Foster Care:

  • 49% have a mental health diagnosis
  • 3% have an SUD diagnosis

Other Medicaid children:

  • 11% have a mental health diagnosis
  • <1% have an SUD diagnosis

Medicaid children in foster care are 4x more likely to use psychotropic medications than other Medicaid children. In fact, these children represent 13% of ALL Medicaid enrollees receiving psychotropic medications.

2.6x higher behavioral health costs for foster care population compared to TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)

Most common behavioral health services used by Medicaid children in foster care (2005):

  • 61%: Individual therapy
  • 49%: Psychotropic medications
  • 41% Screening, assessment, and evaluation
  • 27% Medication management visits
  • 20% Family therapy

[Percentage of the total number of Medicaid children in foster care who used BH services of some type in 2005; children may had used more]


Creating Trauma-Informed Systems (from NCTSN)

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

TF-CBT was created for use with children and adolescents who have been impacted by trauma. It is an evidence-based treatment.

NCTSN recognized treatment modalities and interventions


Interprofessional Collaboration

The Relationship Between Physical and Behavioral Health

Medical Home Care for the Child with Medical Complexity: Care Coordination and Shared Decision Making

What Is Trauma-Informed Care and Why Is it Critical in Health Care Today?

Caring for Children in Foster Care: Managing Care Transitions and Placements

Adverse Childhood Experiences Part I: an Introduction

Adverse Childhood Experiences Part II: ACE Screening in Pediatrics


Appropriate Use of Psychiatric Medication for Youth in Foster Care

An article from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

NAMI Family-to-Family (from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)) is a free, 12-session educational program for family, significant others and friends of people living with mental illness. It is a designated evidenced-based program.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, confidential, and 24/7 accessible resource. 1-800-273-8255

Center for Disease Control Children’s Mental Health Resources

Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence     toolkit