The most prevalent health need of children and teens in foster care is mental health. Children and teens enter foster care after experiencing multiple childhood traumas that negatively impact their emotional health. In addition to prior trauma, even the most resilient child or teen has to contend with separation from his or her family, ongoing losses, and the uncertainty of foster care. Thus, children and teens need timely mental health evaluation and treatment. The mental health professional then has to decide upon a course of treatment in the context of the child's trauma history, individual strengths, family supports, and permanency plan. One of the biggest challenges for the therapist is helping a traumatized child develop a sense of self-efficacy and build relationships in an ever-changing world.
To access resources and materials that mental health and other professionals can use in practice to help support foster parents and others in assuring that children receive high-quality and comprehensive health care, visit the Resource Library and search by the audience "Mental Health Professionals".