Mental Health Services in Northern California

All children, teens and families cared for by AFS are learning how to cope with the events that precipitated their involvement with the child welfare system. Every youth endures a different level of personal grief and trauma with the loss caused by the separation from their family.

Community-Based Mental Health Services

AFS provides family-centered and community-based services designed to meet the mental health needs of children, teens, and families involved with foster care, adoptions, and juvenile probation. AFS collaborates with biological and foster parents, child welfare workers, foster care support staff, schools, and community providers to ensure quality health care services when addressing the mental health needs of children, youth, and families.

AFS mental health treatment and intervention models

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is specifically designed to help individuals suffering from PTSD or other significant traumas.
  • Motivational Interviewing helps individuals fight antipathy and instigate self-directed behavioral changes.
  • AFS’s Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) helps both biological and foster parents understand mental health needs in youth and provide thoughtful, relevant support.

AFS provides informed community-based mental health services

  • Reunification: AFS works within a family’s environment to rebuild family relationships and work towards reunification.
  • Adoption: AFS supports families both before and after adoption, helping to stabilize and gain insight into the emotional issues confronting them.
  • Placement Stabilization: AFS works collaboratively with children, youths, and foster families to reduce tension, realign expectations and increase understanding and empathy within the foster family. This helps to create the space for important permanency work.
  • Emancipation: Our intensive one-to-one support is designed to reach difficult-to-engage children and adolescents, striving to increase their access to community resources and build the extended family supports necessary for a stable life.
  • Individual and Family Therapy: AFS therapists provide therapy for a wide range of issues to foster youth and families as part of the overall treatment plan, in order to achieve more positive outcomes in reunifications and foster care placements.

Therapeutic Visitation

AFS provides Therapeutic Visitation Services to provide counseling and support for foster youths that have entered foster care and their biological parents. Go to our Therapeutic Visitation page for more information.

The Gathering Place

In partnership with Alameda County, AFS runs The Gathering Place, which provides therapeutic visitation services.

Note: The foster care mental health services provided by AFS are solely for the Northern California foster youth and families we work with and support. For more information about how to access mental health services through AFS, feel free to reach out to us by phone at 800-300-1022 or via email at

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Mental health conditions treated by AFS mental health staff include:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Abuse related trauma
  • Disruptive disorders (e.g. Attention Deficit Disorder)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Disrupted family relationships