A full day of events in Chicago last month formally launched the Kennedy Forum Illinois, bringing together elected officials, civic and philanthropic leaders, educators, mental health experts, researchers and advocates—all focused on how to improve mental health statewide. A major concern was reducing childhood adversity and trauma, an especially daunting challenge in Chicago, where high levels of gun violence persist.
By Daniel Heimpel
A reckoning is coming in child protection.
On December 2, the new and increasingly influential Children’s Data Network partnered with the California Child Welfare Indicators Project to release a slew of studies showing that one in seven of all California babies born in 2006 and 2007 had been reported for abuse or neglect by age five.
This is nearly three times annual rates of child abuse reports in California.
Documentary filmmaker James Redford released the trailer for Paper Tigers, a documentary that follows four teens who attend Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA. Lincoln was the first high school in the country to integrate trauma-informed and resilience-building practices, which resulted in an 85 percent decline in suspensions and a 40% decline in expulsions after the first year. After four years, suspensions had dropped 90 percent, expulsions dropped to zero, and graduation rates increased five-fold.
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.
By John Kelly
In Katie A. v Bonta, a class-action lawsuit over mental health services for children involved in California’s child welfare system, Los Angeles County settled with plaintiffs in 2003; the state settled on behalf of the other 57 counties in 2011.
Like most lawsuits and the settlements that stem from them, Katie A. involves lots of technical requirements. Counties must demonstrate that they assess and treat mental health using a core practice model that involves specified coordination and service delivery strategies.
But what it comes down to is this: Prior to the settlements, child welfare agencies in California were failing on both ends of the mental health spectrum.
By John Kelly
In 2002, lawyers representing foster youth in Los Angeles sued the county and California over its failure to service the mental health needs of children in or at risk of entering foster care. For years the mental health issues that these vulnerable children face were often ignored. The children who did receive treatment were frequently hospitalized when outpatient services would have sufficed.
Twelve years later, the clock has nearly run out on the settlements that stemmed from Katie A. v Bonta. On December 1, 2014, separate court settlements with the state and Los Angeles County could end.
Following is our analysis of what has happened since the settlement and where the state and Los Angeles could go next with regard to providing quality mental health services to children in need.
A three-day summit on Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, strengthens California’s efforts to orient policy and practice around preventing and responding to child trauma.
By Parker Blackman
“We know that it makes sense to keep kids in school for $9,000 a year versus individuals in prison for $62,000 a year.”
This statement is the kind of thing you’d expect to hear from a leader in education or child welfare, right? What if I told you instead that the person who said this is a leader in the criminal justice system? In