Program Spotlight: Katie A

The Katie A Intensive Services Program is a specialized cross-system mental health service that serves children, teens, and young adults from birth – 21 years old.

Program Roots

The name “Katie A” refers to a class action lawsuit (Katie A v. Bonta) filed in federal district court in 2002 concerning the availability of intensive mental health services to children in California who are either in foster care or at imminent risk of coming into care. A settlement agreement approved by the court in 2011 required State child welfare and mental health leaders to work together to establish a sustainable framework for the provision of an array of services that occur in community settings and in a coordinated manner. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) remain committed to strengthening California’s child welfare and mental health systems.

Katie A Intensive Services are also open to the community, regardless of child welfare involvement. Services are community-based intensive mental health services, provided in alignment with the California Integrated Core Practice Model (ICPM). The aim of these services is to facilitate the provision of a coordinated, comprehensive, and community-based array of services guided by the Child and Family Team (CFT) for children and youth who are in foster care or at imminent risk of foster care placement. For children and youth in out-of-home placement, services are also designed to facilitate their reunification, and meet their needs for safety, permanency, and well-being. The program has the capacity to serve 142 children and youth and their families annually and length of stay in the program is typically 8 months.

Rising to the Occasion

Throughout 2020, the Katie A team stayed focused and true to the mission of this agency while braving through these unprecedented times. Nuzzled in their homes, and safely out in the community, Katie A is calling on all its strengths to change and evolve along with the needs of our children and families. The team and program have constantly re-invented themselves to stay current, because although the rules of the world are changing, the needs of the families are not.

Katie A is comprised of 18 team members who serve around 142 children and their families, ages 0-21. Given that the population is so diverse, so are our services. COVID-19 posed several challenges including adapting for a successful program amid agency changes and finding ways to stay motivated and connected to one another as a team. To this end, the Katie A team is focusing on team relationships and building trust with one another through developing a clear shared vision and prioritizing time for team-building activities and self-care so that they can continue to do the great work that they do with the youth and families they serve.

by Mae Sampani and Laura Romero
News from the Bay! internal newsletter
Adapted for external release