On Oct. 23-25, the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute held their annual Engage and Excel Conference in Houston, Texas. Texas CASA attended the conference to hear from a wide range of panelists and speakers discussing how to enhance our behavioral health system in Texas. Part of the dialogue included supporting children’s mental health and well-being using innovative health systems such as telemental health and integrated care. There was a large emphasis on educating clinicians about integrated care by having behavioral health as part of the primary care model. Panelists reiterated the need to build on this practice due to the statewide shortage of mental health providers for children.
The conference also included a discussion about mental health and child welfare. Dr. John Lyons who developed the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment discussed the efficacy of the assessment and how it is designed to individualize a child’s treatment plan using specific measures for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Dr. Lyons also expressed the importance of continued evaluations during treatment to monitor outcomes and ensure a child’s strengths are being built and needs are met. What’s more, Dr. Rohanna Buchanan, Chief Operating Officer for the Oregon Social Learning Center, shared about her experience as a clinical supervisor for the Treatment Foster Care program in Oregon. She offered insight to other foster care programs in Oregon that aim to keep families together by preventing placement disruptions through supportive interventions for foster and kinship parents.