New Campaign in Support of Children’s Behavioral Health Needs

January 24, 2020

The NYS Council is pleased to be a member of the Leadership Council of this new campaign designed to address the unique needs of children and youth living with behavioral health and substance use disorder conditions.  We are gratified that two NYS Council ‘true north’ priorities (protecting and enhancing access to and continuity of care) are also themes of this effort!  Kickoff is January 28.  

If you’d like to become more involved with this campaign please let me know!

(Article from today’s Crain’s Health Pulse below

Advocates, providers seek to address children’s mental health crisis

As youth suicide rates continue to climb and the state faces a multibillion-dollar Medicaid deficit, experts say greater efforts are needed to address the mental health crisis in children.

Child welfare advocates and behavioral health providers on Jan. 28 will launch a campaign aimed at ensuring children in New York receive the behavioral health care they need.

The Campaign for Healthy Minds Healthy Kids will seek a moratorium on funding cuts to children’s behavioral health care as well as an increase in access to services through a Medicaid redesign.

It also will pursue the restoration of cuts made earlier this month to Children and Family Treatment and Support Services, which include initial intervention, psychiatric support and rehabilitation from substance abuse.

The state Department of Health provided a 25% rate boost to providers in 2019, the first year of the program. But after six months, the enhancement was cut in half, and on Dec. 31 it went away altogether for many providers.

“Far too many children and families cannot get the behavioral health services they need,” said Alice Bufkin, director of policy for child and adolescent health at the Citizens’ Committee for Children. The committee is co-leading the new campaign along with the Center for New York City Affairs.

The goal of the campaign is to help address that, Bufkin said. But, “We can’t do that if we keep cutting services to children.”

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for children ages 15 to 19 in New York, and the third-leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 15.

When children’s behavioral health care is under-resourced, campaign officials said, “sick kids become sick adults,” and the costs affect families, communities and health care systems. —Jennifer Henderson