Caregiver Engagement in the Behavioral Health Screening and Assessment for Child Welfare-Involved Children: Child Welfare and Behavioral Health Workers' Perspectives

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Journal of Public Child Welfare

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Caregivers are frequent sources of information of their children’s behavioral health and other service needs. It is particularly challenging to engage child welfare-involved caregivers who risk losing custody of their children. This case study explores how caregivers who were about to lose custody of their children engage in their children’s behavioral health screening and assessment from the perspective of child welfare and behavioral health workers. Using qualitative data collected via focus groups from child welfare and behavioral health workers, themes were identified related to the process of engaging caregivers in child behavioral health screening and assessment, determinants (both internal and external) for the caregiver engagement process, and how this process affected screening and assessment outcomes. Findings have implications for screening and assessing behavioral health needs of children involved with the child welfare system and recommended strategies to better engage caregivers in the process.


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