Health Care Professionals

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  • Health care professionals play a key role helping foster children and their parents across Michigan receive high quality care. These helpful resources will help you be more effective in your practice setting.
FAQ
Health Care Professionals
Where can I learn more about health care approaches to mental health disorders in children?

Primary care providers are often the first point of contact when children are experiencing mental health problems. Screening for emotional and behavioral problems is important for all children, and particularly so for children served by child welfare. The Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) standards for routine comprehensive “well-child” examinations include the following recommendations for the health history segment of the examination: “Comprehensive health and developmental history that assesses for both physical and mental health, as well as for substance use disorders.” The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Medical Services Administration’s Medicaid Provider Manual references the American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule. The AAP recommends a “psychosocial/behavioral assessment” at each examination. Surveillance, screening or an assessment meet the requirements for this activity. Given the higher likelihood of emotional and behavioral problems in children in foster care, careful attention should be paid to indicators of such problems. If these indicators are present, provide assessment and/or treatment or refer for mental health care. The links below provide general information about mental health needs of children.

Additional information will likely be available through your state and local professional organizations. Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services website has information about mental health services for children covered under Medicaid. Private and Medicaid insurance health plans can provide information about their covered services.

In many Michigan communities, primary care providers can access the Michigan Child Collaborative Care Program (MC3). This program provides psychiatry support to primary care providers who are managing patients up to age 26 who have mild to moderate behavioral health problems. When providers enroll, they can get telephone or tele-psychiatry support. Even if not enrolled, the MC3 website has useful information about mental health care.

Where can I get more information about health and mental health care needs of children in foster care?

Children in foster care are at a higher risk for health and mental health problems. A number of factors may account for this risk generally and might be present in an individual child, including: limited access to primary health care, including preventative services, in utero exposures to substances, family/genetic history of mental health and substance use disorders and the impact of trauma and toxic stress. The following resources provide information on these risks and how to address them in the primary care setting.

Where can I learn about social-emotional health screening and assessment tools?

Children in foster care are at a higher level of risk for both health and mental health problems. Some data have shown that surveillance alone can result in a failure to identify children in need of mental health assessment and treatment. The American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Mental Health and Healthy Foster Care America have recommended screening using standardized, normed and validated tools as a better way of identifying successfully children in foster care who are in need of mental health services. Below are some resources that may help identify and incorporate screening into office practice.

Where can I learn more about the relationship between trauma and mental health?

Exposure to adverse experiences including child maltreatment is now recognized as a risk factor for a number of health and mental health problems. The following resources will help understand the public health and neuroscience aspects of these relationships and offer ideas for addressing these in health care settings.

Where can I learn more about psychotropic medications?

The primary care setting is often the point of first contact for children and families seeking help for mental health problems. Under many circumstances mental health problems can be successfully assessed and treated in the primary care setting. The resources below provide some information that will help with communicating with children and families about mental health problems and treatment approaches, including the use of psychotropic medications. Professional organizations; i.e. the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry each have practice guidelines for specific mental health problems and for approaches to assessment and treatment.