Source: (2003) Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. 11(1): 49-58.

The child welfare system is in a period of significant reform that offers both opportunities and challenges regarding more effective collaboration between the mental health and child welfare systems. In this article we examine recent federal, state and local initiatives that have influenced that have influenced child welfare policy and practice on a national scale with particular emphasis on those policies that offer opportunities for better coordination of services between mental health and child welfare agencies. To plan for effective services, mental health policy makers and practitioners must be cognizant of available funding streams for child welfare, trends and innovations within the child welfare system, the contextual factors that shape services to the children and families who are under its supervision and the special characteristics of the population that it serves.