What is STAT?
STAT is a mental health screening and assessment program, located at the Alameda County Assessment Center. When a child is taken into protective custody by Alameda County Child Protective Services or the police, s/he is brought to the Assessment Center, a child friendly receiving center located at a confidential site where the child can comfortably wait until placement with a relative, foster home or group home is found. (Children already in placement may come to the Assessment Center as well when they are changing placement or picked up after going AWOL from a previous placement.) At the Assessment Center, children are supervised by caring adults and can eat, shower, sleep, watch television, play a game, do arts and crafts, or simply relax. A public health nurse conducts a medical screening. STAT clinicians provide a mental health screening.
How does it work?
A child who comes to the Assessment Center meets with a STAT clinician (a trained social worker, counselor or psychologist) to determine what kind of immediate support or intervention is needed and to collect information that will assist county social workers in making decisions about a child’s placement. This screening is done through informal observation, supportive play and conversation.
What kind of information will be gathered from the screening?
STAT clinicians assess the child’s mental status, risk for harm, and need for services. Information that will help a child make the transition to a foster home or group home is also collected. For example:
- what helps the child to sleep at night?
- how can someone tell when the child is mad or upset?
- what kinds of things make the child feel safe and comfortable?
Are services provided after the child leaves the Assessment Center?
If it is determined that a child needs help transitioning to a placement, STAT clinicians can work with a child and caregiver for up to 30 days. For example, the clinician will:
- meet with the relative caregiver, foster parents, or group home staff in order to support them in meeting the child’s needs
- provide brief psychotherapeutic intervention to help support the child during this transition
- serve as a resource and liaison to longer-term mental health and other supportive services
The STAT program is committed to helping children cope with the trauma of abuse and neglect as well as minimizing the impact on children of being separated from their family and community.
To make a referral, please view our referral directions.