The Bazelon Center, other advocates for children and the State of California reached an agreement on September 27 that will provide intensive home- and community-based mental health services for California children in foster care or at risk of removal from their families. The proposed settlement in Katie A. v. Bonta comes nine years after the class action was first filed.
Under the groundbreaking settlement, California will make intensive home-based services and intensive care coordination available to eligible children under Medicaid. The state will also determine what parts of therapeutic foster care services are covered under Medicaid and provide that service to certain class members.
The settlement also requires the state to take a number of steps to ensure that children who need the covered services will receive them. For example, under the proposed settlement the state will:
instruct providers on delivering therapeutic foster care as a Medicaid service;
convene an interagency task force to advance keeping children with mental health issues with their families; and
create a system to identify children in need of the covered mental health services and to link them with those services.
Final approval of the settlement is anticipated in December.