3/31/2015 10:20:33 AM
Like other state mental health service areas, demand for youth and adolescent programming has strained mental health, juvenile justice, and school systems. Experts suggest that establishing early detection and intervention programs in preschool and school settings will reduce long-term system demand and juvenile justice involvement. With 1,129 state school districts in Texas functioning independently, the state has chosen to take the lead in developing strategies for youth and adolescent system transformation.
Texas has committed to reviewing existing systems and expanding early intervention systems. To identify improvement areas, the TWG charged the Children and Adolescent Workgroup with developing goals, objectives, and action plans that would:
The workgroups goal is to create a system that recognizes mental health problems in children and adolescents and provides early intervention and treatment with the most up-to-date evidence-based practices.
After an initial system review, the workgroup recommended the following strategies:
The workgroup efforts are supported by various other state initiatives including Texas Department of Family Services Symposium (October 11, 2007). Programming advanced evidence-based practices with children and adolescents was co-sponsored by DFPS by several TWG agencies, universities.
Texas Models for Change: The Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice awarded Texas a grant to improve juvenile justice mental health services. The multi-agency team headed by the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission will work with other states and national experts to improve the response to youth with mental health needs in the juvenile justice system.
Texas School-Based Behavioral Health Survey: A goal of the Children and Adolescent Workgroup was to assess staff perceptions of behavioral health needs and resources in Texas public schools. The Texas School-Based Behavioral Health Survey Report and Recommendations presents findings and recommendations based on results of the survey.
Texas Models for Change: The Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network: The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice awarded Texas a grant to improve juvenile justice mental health services. The multi-agency team headed by the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission will work with other states and national experts to improve the response to youth with mental health needs in the juvenile justice system. To read more about this initiative, go to www.modelsforchange.net/action/justice.
Evidence-based and Promising Practices for Children's Mental Health in Texas: On October 7, 2007, the Child/Adolescent subcommittee hosted a statewide symposium highlighting a sample of the evidence-based programs and promising practices across Texas. Participants created recommendations for furthering the dissemination of these and other programs.
School Health Specialists Developing Behavioral Health Expertise: Texas schools are supported by 20 regional Educational Service Centers (ESCs). A network of school health specialists work to implement the Center for Disease Control Coordinated School Health Model through training and consultation with local schools and school districts. Starting in 2007, the school health specialists received training on three behavioral health curricula, which they provided to local school staff and community members. One curricula focused on the rationale for addressing behavioral and emotional problems in schools, targeting school administrators, school boards, and PTAs. A second curricula focused on improving teacher's skills at recognizing mental health issues, promoting a positive classroom climate, and linking youth with appropriate resources. The third curricula provided gatekeeper skills for recognizing youth at risk for suicide and accessing appropriate referral resources.
Texas Evidence-based and Best Practices Clearinghouse: Initially planned by the Child and Adolescent subcommittee, this online resource has been expanded to include all age groups. This website provides key information on repositories of evidence-based practices for the promotion of behavioral health, prevention of mental health and substance abuse problems, and treatment for behavioral health disorders. Targeting both consumers and providers of services, the website will also feature links to valuable resources for implementing evidence based and best practices.
2008 Policy Academy for Youth and Young Adults with Mental Health Needs Transitioning to Adulthood: The Child and Adolescent subcommittee developed an application for a SAMHSA Policy Academy to improve policies to support youth and young adults as they transition to adulthood. Although unsuccessful, the application highlighted the importance of addressing the needs of youth with mental health problems to enhance their ability to reach their educational, vocational, and health goals.
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Summit: In collaboration with the Raising Texas Initiative, the Child and Adolescent subcommittee is sponsoring a summit aimed at addressing programmatic and fiscal policies to improve the social and emotional well-being of our youngest citizens. With presentations from national experts, the summit participants will make recommendations for policy initiatives within Texas.
Enhancing Collaboration between Schools and Local Systems of Care: In an effort to improve linkages between local school systems and community resources for children and families with mental health needs, the Texas Collaboration for Emotional Development in Schools has developed a statewide model for supporting the well-being and mental health of students. Additional resources for communities will be developed as this initiative progresses. For more information, visit www.txceds.org.