Improving outcomes for children involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems

At UnitedHealthcare Community & State, we design integrated care programs to better serve the unique needs of the children and youth engaged with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. In 2022, Community & State served more than 45,000 child welfare and juvenile justice-involved children and youth across 22 states.

Model of care

To support states’ continued implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act, and to safely maintain children in family settings, we offer a unique clinical model of care that is attachment-based, strengths-based, and trauma-informed. Our care model includes:

  • A dedicated care management team of trauma-informed clinical experts with lived or learned child welfare experience
  • Specialized training, including continuing education credits for providers, in trauma-informed care and working with the child serving System of Care
  • Integrated physical, behavioral, and specialty health care services designed to address whole-family needs
  • A proprietary stratification process to identify the level of clinical need for each child and to connect them to immediate assistance to the most appropriate interventions
  • Pharmacy reviews to help ensure proper medication use, with particular focus on psychotropic medications
  • Increased access to care through in-home, in-office, school-based, and telehealth services to help each child and family receive the right care at the right time through the right modality for their needs

System of care and collaboration

By working with child welfare systems, Medicaid agencies, caregivers and community stakeholders, Community & State builds solutions designed to help children and youth in foster care improve their lives and chances for success. 

Collaboration supporting transition age youth and youth formerly involved in foster care

  • Providing education around programs such as CHAFEE that support further education or vocational training
  • Connecting youth with older youth workers or transitional living specialists who can help them apply for the HUD housing vouchers
  • Supporting the state youth advisory boards and encouraging transition age youth to participate in these activities
  • Connecting transition age youth and youth formerly involved in foster care with UnitedHealthcare’s On My Way app that provides gamified life skill and health education

Results and impacts

  • Improved access and coordination of foster care involved youth health care services, including increased access to community support services
  • Focused reports designed to enable providers to achieve better results and empower members, families, caregivers, and coordinators to make more informed care choices
  • Increased a number of HEDIS scores in several markets from 2021 to 2022:
  • Increased 7-day follow-up after hospitalization for mental illness by up to 45% and 30-day follow-up by 17%.
  • Improved child and adolescent well-care visits by up to 9%.
  • Improved use of first-line psychosocial care for children and adolescents on Antipsychotics by up to 30%.
  • Enhanced focus on prescribing patterns that are clinically appropriate and medication adherence for psychotropic medications
  • Decreased inpatient readmissions
  • Improved outcomes in foster care involved children’s overall health and well-being, as well as increased chances of stable placement

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