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Vol. 4, No. 2
May 1999

Child Welfare and Mental Health Issues

A lot of mental health issues affect children's services. There are those that have to do with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse in the families and children you see in your work. Then there's the challenge of maintaining your own mental health while you work with families in crisis.

And then there are the interagency, professional-to-professional issues of interacting with mental health workers and with North Carolina's large and sometimes confusing public mental health system. These are the issues that lead to questions such as, "why won't they accept my referral?" or "why does it always come back to the issue of confidentiality?" or "what's going on over there--I can't keep up with all the changes!"

This edition of Practice Notes is primarily concerned with this last issue--the challenge of working effectively with our state's mental health system. We hope these pages will help you in your efforts to collaborate with the people in the mental health system, and to improve outcomes for the families and children you serve.

Collaboration with Mental Health: Insights from an "Outsider"
Suggestions for Working with Mental Health
Work First, Qualified Substance Abuse Professionals (QSAPs), and Collaboration
Understanding North Carolina’s Mental Health System
Three Things to Keep in Mind about North Carolina’s Mental Health System
North Carolina Division of Mental Health Programs and Services
Working with Adults with Mental Illness
Working with Adults with Mental Illness: Practice Tips
Improving Referrals to Mental Health
Click here to read or print the entire issue as a pdf file.

 For additional information, consult these resources:

  • A View from the Child Welfare System
    This report details information to consider when designing a public behavioral health managed care system to meet the needs of children and families in the child welfare system. Along with the necessary components of any public behavioral health system (e.g., access to services, coordination of care), child welfare professionals will learn how four communities designed programs and services specifically for children involved in the child welfare system. In addition, the paper discusses some of the decisions States and communities will need to make about how the child welfare and behavioral health systems will work together.
  • Making Interagency Initiatives Work for Children and Families in the Child Welfare System
    A companion paper to "A View from the Child Welfare System," this report describes the basis for collaborative efforts on the part of behavioral health, child welfare, and other agencies to provide services to children with behavioral health needs.

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