Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT)

 

The Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT) is an exciting collaborative effort between the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the Department of Mental Health (DMH), and other Community Mental Health Providers. When a child is newly detained by the court, and removed from his/her family of origin, he/she is eligible for a MAT assessment. The MAT assessment is designed to make sure that all child and family needs are assessed as a child/youth enters foster care. The assessment is meant to help identify the underlying needs a child may have that place a family in danger of a lengthy separation. The information gathered by this assessment is used to determine what services are most needed and how they will be provided to the child/youth.

In July 2002 the Department of Children and Family Service was sued for not providing foster care children with adequate services that were individualized to each of their needs. The lawsuit stipulated that the Department would have to ensure the delivery of Mental Health Services to those children in custody of the foster care system.

 

Following the lawsuit, Multidisciplinary Assessment Teams were created by the DCFS and the Department of Mental Health. The formed this partnership as a guarantee that each child entering the out of home care would receive an individualized and comprehensive assessment of needed addressing a child’s mental health, developmental and educational status. Our MAT program is a strength-based systems approach that provides children and families linkage to services and treatment they need.

 

Program Description

 

When a child is detained, he/she is eligible to receive a Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT) assessment through DCFS. The MAT assessment was designed to make sure that all child/family needs are assessed when a child/youth enters foster care to prevent future involvement with DCFS.

This assessment is meant to help a family meet underlying or unmet needs a child(ren) may have that place the family in danger of a lengthy separation. The information gathered by this assessment will be used to determine what services are most needed by the child(ren) with the intention of using this information for the most appropriate placement of the child, and also ensuring that his/her needs will be met to assist with improving client’s current level of functioning.

MAT Assessments address
the following areas:
  •  Medical

  •  Dental

  •  Developmental

  •  Hearing/Language

  •  Education

  •  Mental Health

  •  Family Caregiver

  •  Vocational

Program Goals:

  • More timely, comprehensive and strength-based assessment of children and families

  • Earlier diagnosis of critical medical conditions

  • Increased cooperation between families, caregivers, providers of services and DCFS

  • More appropriate team placement decisions for children

  • More consideration given to sibling, relative, and community placements

  • Earlier access to medical and mental health service for children and families

External Links:

https://www.lacounty.gov/

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