Mental Health Project
Young people in foster care have often experienced years of neglect and abuse, exposure to a host of environmental stressors, the traumatic experience of entering foster care, and the continuing trauma of changing foster care placements. All of these factors and many more contribute to a higher rate of mental health diagnoses among youth in foster care than among those who are not in care.
It is estimated that six out of every ten children in foster care in New York City (60%) suffer from mental health issues., while only about two out of every ten children not in foster care (20%) have a mental health challenge. Left unaddressed, our clients’ mental health issues can result in their extended involvement in the child welfare system and dramatically increase their chances of lifelong mental health challenges after leaving care.
The goal of the Mental Health Advocacy Project, founded in 2007, is to ensure that our clients who have mental health challenges receive timely and comprehensive evaluations by trained professionals; high-quality, individualized services in the least restrictive placements possible; appropriate school-based services; and appropriately prescribed and monitored psychotropic medication when necessary. The project is directed by a Master’s-level social worker with expertise in mental health advocacy who works closely with LFC attorneys to ensure the best outcomes for every child and young adult we serve.