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Intensive intervention for maltreated infants and toddlers in foster care.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, USA.

Abstract

We have described a program that integrates clinical approaches of infant mental health to infants and toddlers in foster care. The juxtaposition of a mental health program in a forensic setting creates a number of special features that we have highlighted. Unique from the clinical perspective, the team is explicitly relationship-focused, attempting to understand all of the young child's caregiving relationships as they affect development. We strive to enhance the quality of all of relationships in which infants participate, fostering healthy attachments and development. Also unique is the emphasis on system liaison, and making programmatic efforts to affect various systems involved in making custody determinations about infants and toddlers. Unique from the forensic perspective, we offer multidisciplinary expertise about an especially high-risk population, a comprehensive service delivery system in which we provide or coordinate and monitor all intervention efforts for a given family, a prevention orientation, and clinical follow-up with infants for as long as they are in care. The goals of the program include expediting permanency planning decisions, increasing continuity in high-quality foster care placements, increasing court satisfaction with mental health consultation, decreasing the number of court-ordered evaluations for adjudicated families, and increasing CPS satisfaction with available treatment and continuity of care. We believe that this approach integrates delivery of services to the youngest and most vulnerable victims of maltreatment and expedites permanency planning.

PMID:
9894069
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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