Multidisciplinary Assessment and Treatment
SHIELDS’ Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT) provides an in-depth assessment of children and families who come into contact with the Department of Children and Family Services. These assessments are designed to ensure that the social service needs of children entering out-of-home placement are met. The MAT concept is family centered and strength based, and encompasses a comprehensive understanding of the complicated issues that children and families face when they enter the foster care system.
SHIELDS’ MAT provides services to families and children ages 0-21 who are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
SHIELDS’ MAT provides an in-depth assessment of family strengths and psycho-social needs, resulting in an intensive care plan including linkages to resources that will aid the family in working towards achieving family reunification. Clients may also receive ongoing mental health services dependent on need.
The MAT assessment is meant to help a family meet some special needs a child(ren) may have that place this family in danger of a lengthy separation. MAT assessments address mental health, physical health, developmental milestones, hearing/language development, education and vocational needs in a manner that is most conducive to achieving permanency and optimal stability for the child in the least restrictive setting. The information gathered by this assessment allows SHIELDS to effectively plan with the family and practitioners to address specific needs, services and treatment, to assist in developing a plan to reunify the family unit when possible or assist in permanent placement that is safe and stable.
SHIELDS’ MAT also utilizes existing community-based collaborators to provide services to families that are not available through the program’s resources. This includes linkage and referral to additional child care, health care, substance abuse and mental health treatment programs at SHIELDS and other community-based providers, and to our collaborative networks that provide housing, food, clothing, and transportation for those in need.
SHIELDS’ MAT is a collaboration between the Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and community providers. Our assessors have collaborated with MAT teams in Service Planning Areas (SPA) 3 and 7 as well as Orange County and Riverside County in order to complete assessments and provide linkages to clients and their families.
Accomplishments and Recognition
- SHIELDS’ MAT assesses over 100 children annually.
- In many cases, MAT Assessors have been able to provide continuous mental health (individual and family psychotherapy) services to children and families in order to facilitate reunification.
- Early assessment of appropriate placement options decreases the number of placement disruptions and increases the level of safety while in out-of-home care.
- MAT assessments have resulted in successful linkages to other SHIELDS programs, including the HUB Outpatient Mental Health Clinic and the Revelation program.
- Parents and caregivers have been successfully connected with SHIELDS’ substance abuse treatment and child welfare programs including the Ark program as well as the Achieving Change Together (ACT) program.