Child Welfare Division

The Child Welfare Division of LACDMH was created to ensure comprehensive, coordinated delivery of mental health services to children and youths in or at-risk of entering the foster care system. The division, representing the collaborative effort of LACDMH and Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), was formed in response to the 2002 “Katie A. et. al. vs. State of California” settlement agreement, where the plaintiffs requested that the State and County improve its delivery of mental health services to children and families.

Programs overseen by the Child Welfare Division include:

  • Specialized Foster Care (SFC) that co-locates LACDMH staff at all 19 DCFS offices to provide triage, mental health assessments, crisis interventions and linkage to mental health care providers
  • Multidisciplinary Assessment Teams (MAT) to provide immediate, comprehensive assessments of children and youths entering out-of-home placement
  • Intensive Care Coordination (ICC) and Intensive Home-Based Services (IBHS) to develop and implement an individual- and family-focused, trauma-informed treatment plan, helping children and youths to return or remain home
  • Shared Core Practice Model (SCPM) that focuses on improving our engagement with children and families, on identifying the child and family’s strengths, addressing their underlying needs, and supporting the family in building a team of formal and natural supports

Additional program information:

Child Welfare Division programs are also continually monitored, reviewed and improved to optimize delivery of services. The Quality Service Review (QSR) is the County’s chosen evaluative tool designed to ensure that the Shared Core Practice Model is implemented in the work that we do. QSR measures how children and families are currently doing related to their safety, stability, permanency and wellbeing. It also measures the core functions of our practice such as engagement, teamwork, assessment and understanding, planning, tracking and adjustment. Learn more about QSR in this fact sheet.

Additionally, LACDMH and DCFS have developed a shared management and decision-making process to improve the quality of services provided. Features and goals of this process include:

  • Building and maintaining a strong engagement with the client and their family
  • Focus on the strengths and needs of the client and their family when assessing or planning services
  • Connecting with formal and informal support systems to develop, track and assist with progress to wellbeing, resilience and self-sufficiency
  • Reducing timelines to permanency, lengths of stay within the child welfare system and reliance on congregate care

Using these programs and processes, LACDMH and DCFS have been able to provide mental health services to a larger group of eligible children and youths.

For additional information, visit DCFS’ Katie A. site or contact Anabel Rodriguez at (213) 739-5466 or


Updated 2/21/2019