Addressing physical and behavioral health problems is a critical issue in the child welfare population. As many as two-thirds of children entering foster care have behavioral or emotional problems. Access to physical and behavioral health services for children in foster care varies drastically across the country, with some youth receiving too much and disjointed care and others receiving too little care. Furthermore, Medicaid’s costs for physical and behavioral health services for these high-needs children are disproportionately large relative to the population’s share of Medicaid enrollment.

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) worked to improve the delivery of physical and mental health care for children in child welfare through a three-year national collaborative that included nine managed care organizations:

  • CareOregon
  • Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership
  • Magellan of Florida, Magellan Public Sector Solutions, Magellan Health Services
  • The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership
  • Mid Rogue, IPA (Oregon)
  • Priority Partners MCO (Maryland)
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan (Pennsylvania)
  • Volunteer State Health Plan (Tennessee)
  • Wraparound Milwaukee (Wisconsin)

These organizations developed and piloted promising approaches to meet the health and behavioral care needs of children and youth in the child welfare system. The project also provided participants with access to expert technical assistance and a peer-learning network.