Physical, Mental & Dental Assessments Are Crucial for Kids Entering Foster Care

Many children entering the Department of Human Services (DHS) foster or substitute care have experienced trauma-related issues and may have never received basic preventive care. For this reason, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is making it a priority for these children to receive a physical, mental and dental assessment within the first 60 days.

When are assessments required?
A child requires an assessment when they are new to DHS foster/substitute care or if they leave and return to DHS foster/substitute care, even if an assessment was recently completed. The possibility of over-assessing a child is outweighed by the potential of not recognizing and properly treating a child’s potential trauma-related issues.

The type of assessments required depends on the age of the child on the date of DHS custody:

  • 4 years old or older: A physical health assessment, a mental health assessment, and a dental assessment within 60 days.
  • Between 1 and 4 years old: A physical health assessment and dental assessment within 60 days.
  • Under 1 year old: A physical health assessment within 60 days.

Even if a child is currently receiving services, such as mental health treatment, they are still required to have a new assessment if they enter or re-enter DHS/foster substitute care.

Assessments Should Be Completed Within 60 Days
The OHA is using mental, dental and physical health assessments for children in DHS custody as one of the quality health metrics to show how well coordinated care organizations (CCOs) are improving care, making quality care accessible, eliminating health disparities and curbing the rising cost of health care. The measure looks at whether a child who enters DHS custody and is enrolled in a CCO receives appropriate assessment(s) within 60 days of OHA/DHS providing notification to the CCO that the child has entered custody.

Refer to the OHA guidance document for answers to common questions about the assessments. The Measure details for this CCO quality metric outline the specific codes that providers can utilize for these services.

OHA guidance document for Mental and Physical Health Assessments
Measure details for Mental and Physical Health Assessments

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