By Jeremy Loudenback
The Katie A. v. Bonta lawsuits leveled California and Los Angeles County with the charge that every county in the state provide adequate mental health services for some of its most vulnerable children.
The state settled the case in 2011. Los Angeles County settled a separate lawsuit in 2003, suggesting that it would be ahead of the state’s 57 other counties in providing better mental health services for what is known as the Katie A. Subclass (read part one for a breakdown of which children are eligible to be counted in the subclass).
In Los Angeles, the largest single child welfare system in the country, Katie A. observers note significant overall advancements, particularly in screening, with a lot of work left to do regarding treatment.
Thanks to a new focus on supporting mental health services at medical centers across the county, Los Angeles is poised to continue its progress on coordinating these services for children in its massive child-welfare system. But lingering questions remain about its ability to consistently provide services to children who require specialized mental health services.
The number of Los Angeles foster youth receiving mental health treatment has greatly increased under the settlement. About three percent of youth