Key Takeaway

Providing greater access, early identification, effective and appropriate mental health services to children and youth will help reduce the need for more expensive services, such as emergency rooms and juvenile detention, and better ensure success in school and life.

Partners for Our Children supports improved access and accountability for children and their families who need behavioral and mental health services.  Nearly half of the children/youth in the child welfare system, and more than two-thirds of youth involved in the juvenile justice system, have a behavioral/mental health disorder.  An overwhelming majority of these children are disconnected from the appropriate services they need, which leads to an over-reliance on more costly services such as juvenile detention centers, emergency rooms and rehabilitation centers.  The Children's Mental Health Workgroup, which was convened by the Legislature in 2016, has identified several policy priorities aimed at improving  mental health services and outcomes for children and families.