Washington awarded grant to help foster children with emotional disabilities

The federal Administration of Children and Families has awarded Washington a $639,000 grant to enhance mental health services for children in foster care.

“The partnership between the Department of Social and Health Services and the University of Washington will allow our state to be in the forefront nationally to improve access to evidence- based practices for foster children with behavioral health disabilities,” said Eric Trupin, Director of the Evidence Based Practice Institute at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

“The grant will also have a particular emphasis on reducing the emotional trauma many of these children experience,” he said.

“A significant percentage of children in foster care have an identified mental health disorder. This grant will help us positively impact the experiences of children in foster care by enhancing the coordination of services between child welfare and mental health systems,” said DSHS Children’s Administration Assistant Secretary Denise Revels Robinson.

This one-year grant will focus on comprehensive planning to improve the social and emotional well-being of children in foster care. The primary goals of the grant are to:

  • Streamline and standardize processes to identify and refer children for services.
  • Increase capacity to deliver evidence-based practices and trauma-informed care.
  • Coordinate planning between professionals in mental health and child welfare.

DSHS Aging and Disability Services Administration Assistant Secretary Jane Beyer said “Identifying children with emotional disabilities earlier, and connecting them to the appropriate services, are crucial to reduce the risk of life-long disabilities. The timing of this grant is well aligned with the state’s initiatives to improve children’s mental health.”

Contingent upon successful outcomes of the grant’s one-year planning process, there is also the potential for the grant to expand over the next four years. Additional grant funding will support infrastructure development, staff training, evidence-based practices service training and evaluation.

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