June 2010, NICHCY Disability Fact Sheet #5: The mental health of our children is a natural and important concern for us all. The fact is, many mental disorders have their beginnings in childhood or adolescence, yet may go undiagnosed and untreated for years. We refer to mental disorders using different “umbrella” terms such as emotional disturbance, behavioral disorders, or mental illness. Beneath these umbrella terms, there is actually a wide range of specific conditions that differ from one another in their characteristics and treatment. What different emotional disturbances have in common, how they are defined in federal law, and where to find more detailed information on specific disorders. Link to Web Page
This paper works to increase appreciation of the relevance of trauma in understanding children and in planning to meet their needs. It discusses the vulnerability of children and the unique needs of traumatized children. Part 1 on the challenge of childhood trauma provides a synopsis of child development and the differential responses to trauma, identifies risk and protective factors related to child maltreatment, explains the magnitude of the problem of trauma and consequences related to child psychiatric disorders, adult psychiatric disorders, juvenile and criminal justice, women who have been traumatized, inappropriate interventions, and the psychological effects of trauma on children. Part 2 on trauma-informed care reviews key components of trauma informed care, strength based approaches and the promotion of resilience, the use of the public health model, and programmatic approaches to trauma informed care. Recommended public policies at the federal, State, and local levels are also discussed, and a list of suggested reading is provided. Link to Brief
The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) produced a DVD to help States, Tribes, and communities strengthen linkages among child welfare, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and court systems. The DVD features the NCSACW’s 10-Element Framework: Elements of System Linkages and demonstrates strategies for increased multidisciplinary collaboration to better serve children, youth, and families across systems.
The 30-minute video begins with an introduction from H. Westley Clark, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, who discusses the importance of cross-sector collaboration. The framework is demonstrated through programs in Miami, Dade County, FL, and Sacramento County, CA, both of which have experienced positive outcomes. The video features interviews with service recipients, program directors, child protection professionals, dependency court coordinators, and more .
Bringing Families Together: Models of Hope and Recovery is available for desktop or mobile download on the NCSACW website: