Support Services for Youth in Transition: Mental Health

Last updated: 01-08-2021

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Support Services for Youth in Transition: Mental Health

Resources included in this section address the mental health needs of youth transitioning from foster care and the services to support them. Included are State and local examples.

Healthy Foster Care America: Mental and Behavioral Health American Academy of Pediatrics (2020) Discusses mental and behavioral health issues as the largest unmet need for youth in foster care and provides information on related topics, including trauma, changes in life situations, family relationship problems, access to mental health services, and more

Mental Health and Foster Care National Conference of State Legislatures (2019) Provides information on factors contributing to the mental and behavioral health of youth in foster care, including histories of trauma, frequently changing situations, broken family relationships, and inconsistent or inadequate access to mental health services and over-the-counter medications.

Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders Suggests Youth Reaching Age of Majority in Foster Care Need Special Attention Courtney & Charles (2015) Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago  Analyzes the prevalence of mental health and substance use issues in youth in foster care as they prepare to transition out of care. Findings showed mental health and substance use issues should receive more attention from child welfare agencies, and screening for these disorders should be common practice when working with older youth in foster care. 

Promotion and Prevention  Youth.gov Discusses and provides examples of ways mental health can be promoted and levels of prevention. The website also offers resources related to working with youth in foster care and mental health. 

Children's Mental Health Transition-Age Youth Services  Texas Department of Health and Human Services (2020) Reviews services available to youth transitioning out of foster care, including mental health services, counseling, and life skills. 

Department of Mental Health Services for Transition Age Youth Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (2017) Describes mental health and support services available to youth transitioning out of the foster care system in Los Angeles County, CA. The site provides links to resources and additional information on serving transition-aged youth.

Foster Youth in Transition: Health & Wellness, Your Mind Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (2020) Provides resources and information for youth transitioning out of care in Michigan on mental and behavioral health topics, including depression, suicide, relationships, feelings, eating disorders, substance use, and problem gambling.

Mental Health  Humanim (2020) Offers the Healthy Transitions program to help young people who are struggling with mental health issues to successfully transition into adulthood. The Transition Aged Youth Program helps young adults as they transition out of foster care or a residential treatment center. 

Resources for Transition Age Youth and Young Adults (16–22) Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (2020) Explains services for transition-age youth and young adults that will help them as they develop into adulthood.

Transition-Age Youth in Massachusetts (PDF - 811 KB) Tufts University & LUK, Inc. (2016) Examines services for youth aging out of foster care in Massachusetts, including Federal mental health services and State mental health services, to determine if programs can be improved. The report also compares services in Massachusetts to those in three other States: Connecticut, California, and Maryland.


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