Partnering for Success
Cohort 1 Implementation Sites Descriptions

Site 3: Oklahoma

Experience with Evidence-Based Practices

Within the past several years, numerous child welfare and mental health initiatives have helped propel Oklahoma’s transformation toward a statewide system of trauma-informed and evidence-based care for children, youth and families. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has supported Oklahoma through the awarding of five Category I, II and III sites focusing on uptake and dissemination of evidence based practices.

In 2013, DHS was awarded a five-year ACYF – Children’s Bureau Demonstration Project grant through their Initiative to Improve Access to Needs-Driven, Evidence-Based/Evidence- Informed Mental and Behavioral Health Services in Child Welfare. The Oklahoma Trauma Assessment and Service Center Collaborative grant (OK-TASCC) is designed to facilitate the integration of data-driven child welfare case planning and referral, and support child welfare-involved children’s access to necessary and appropriate mental health services. DHS engaged in a statewide sequential rollout of universal behavioral health screening in 2016, which involved child welfare worker training in administration and interpretation, data-informed case management, and general knowledge of evidence-based children’s mental health practices. 

The PSC-17 was selected as the foundation for CBHS. The PSC-17 is open source and has well established and desirable measurement properties.   Additional items that are important for making behavioral health services referrals were added to the PSC-17 in the existing OHCA tool. These include functional impairment items and items about current behavioral health service receipt, both of which are important considerations when medical providers or child welfare workers need to make decisions about when to refer for additional assessment or treatment. The OK-TASCC grant further added questions regarding behavioral services receipt, and quality and effectiveness to assist workers in determining when service plans may need revisiting, including situations where a lack of progress may increase risk for placement disruption. A question was included to capture information regarding common EBP elements such as caregiver involvement in sessions and the use of therapeutic homework. Three questions pertaining to prescriptions for ADHD medications, other psychotropic medications and the number of medications were added to assist caseworkers in monitoring for potential overmedication. A final set of questions was added to screen for clinical-level child trauma symptoms.

Oklahoma was very proud to be accepted by the National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Child Welfare in 2015 as one of the initial sites to implement Partnering for Success. We saw PfS as a logical extension to build upon the strong framework established by the OK-TASCC grant by bringing together child welfare and mental health practitioners in the greater Tulsa region to deliver EBP services to children while enhancing communication and case coordination. Case workers and supervisors in OKDHS have learned and implemented a cadre of skills to enhance their assessment processes and abilities to support children and families in treatment. Mental Health Agencies involved in this partnership include:  CREOKS Behavioral Health Services, Grand Lake Mental Health Center, Family and Children’s Services, and the OK Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. All agencies participate in an Implementation team and plans are underway for scaling up a second cohort in the Tulsa region. Staff from all involved agencies are preparing to be local trainers and consultants.

Lead staff for the project are:  

Keitha Wilson, MSW
OK-TASCC Grant Manager
Oklahoma Department of Human Services Child Welfare Services

Teresa M Croom, M. Ed.
Manager of Adolescent & Family Co-occurring Services
Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services