The MENTOR Network

Advocacy Spotlight

The MENTOR Network Joins Forces to Advocate for Youth At-Risk

The MENTOR Network recently joined hundreds of state and national organizations in support of two policy issues that could have a positive impact on youth at-risk and the services that we provide.

Coordinated by the Foster Family-based Treatment Association, The MENTOR Network signed a letter that was submitted to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, asking for support in moving the Family-Based Foster Care Services Act of 2015 forward. This bipartisan legislation creates a uniform definition for Therapeutic Foster Care.

Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) is a highly effective trauma-informed intervention provided by organizations including The MENTOR Network. TFC allows 40,000 foster children with severe mental and behavioral diagnoses and complex medical conditions to receive the services they need within a family- and community-based environment. TFC results in positive outcomes relating to a child’s behavior and to maintaining safety, permanency, and well-being.

The MENTOR Network also signed on to a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid urging their support for a five-year demonstration project led by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) designed to encourage states and tribes to move away from over-prescribing psychotropic medications to foster children.

The use of psychotropic medication for children in in foster care is an issue that has recently received significant attention from Congress, which held hearings in May 2014 and requested governmental reviews of state practice. The proposed demonstration builds on these recent Congressional efforts, and will lead to improved outcomes for vulnerable children with behavioral health challenges and for children exposed to trauma.

The joint proposal put forth by ACF and CMS will help to coordinate efforts to build state and tribal capacity within child welfare and health care systems to more appropriately address the high rates of children who may be unnecessarily receiving psychotropic medications. The project encourages the utilization of effective evidence-based therapeutic interventions, one of which is Therapeutic Foster Care. In addition to increasing the utilization of therapeutic services, the project promotes home and community-based approaches, mobile response and stabilization services.