Youth and transition services
Data from 2007 showed more than 35,000 youth recipients of Minnesota Health Care Program and county mental health services were of transition age, 14 to 25 years. Youth and young adults with mental health issues can encounter problems when finding services that help with the transition to adulthood. Some available mental health, employment and housing services are not always suited for young adults with mental illness. They also can find it difficult to meet eligibility standards for adult programs that will provide or pay for mental health services, which can disrupt the continuity of their treatment. Finally, navigating multiple, separate programs that address varied needs can be particularly challenging for youth and their families.
There is a demand for more coordination of services to support youth with mental health needs who are transitioning from children’s services systems, particularly foster care, juvenile corrections and special education systems, to the adult services systems. The Children’s Mental Health Division partners with others to plan and provide services and supports for these youth to ensure their future success as they mature and move toward more independence. For example, the division is initiating projects to improve mental health screening rates, to improve outcomes for youth transitioning out of foster care system. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 extended continuity of foster care services for youth beyond age 18 to age 21.
The division recently developed Youth ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) for youth ages 16 through 20. Youth ACT, a new mental health benefit for youth, is an intensive rehabilitative mental health service. Services are to be delivered in a team treatment model to assist youth, suffering from severe mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders, (due to the severity of their symptoms), with coordinating mental health, school/employment, housing, family, and physical health services.