Strengthening Communities’ Capacity to Support Children & Youth
As CMHC works to ensure each child in the Commonwealth is supported, we’re also advocating for change in community access to services and to the children’s behavioral health system.
Systems-level changes, such as the strengthening of mental health parity and increased investment in the behavioral health care system, improve an entire community’s ability to access timely and equitable care and break down long-standing barriers. Critical to this work is the facilitation of collaboration across agencies. Children and families do not live in a vacuum, and it is imperative to acknowledge the intersecting roles different systems play in supporting a family.
Facilitating Inter-agency Collaboration and
Supporting Systems-wide Changes
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH)
We’re advocating for issues pertaining to IECMH with an emphasis on breaking down silos to promote family and infant and early childhood social and emotional well-being as foundational to development. We’re supporting projects and partnerships that strengthen the early childhood workforce and encourage interagency collaboration on issues related to IECMH. We are also prioritizing legislation that supports the development of young children in school.
Mental health parity and implementation
State and federal parity laws require most health insurers to cover mental health and substance abuse treatment for children under the same terms and conditions as they cover other medical services. However, problems persist. Families report that denials of coverage, burdensome health plan approval processes, inadequate behavioral health provider networks, and other issues continue to block their access to appropriate care. Strengthening parity in the Commonwealth is critical to ending discrimination in the coverage of mental health care, and legislation is instrumental to ensuring that the Commonwealth fulfills its promise of true mental health parity.
- Mental health parity updates and implementation | An Act relative to mental health parity implementation | S.675; An Act to update mental health parity | H.2065
- Consistency in creating criteria for medically necessary services | An Act for medical necessity fairness | S.645
Investment in and commitment to behavioral healthcare in Massachusetts
We’re addressing long-standing underfunding that has led to significant barriers to receiving timely and appropriate care. We’re advocating for a timeline and process for increasing investment in behavioral healthcare and partnering on legislation that establishes an Office of Behavioral Health Promotion to set goals and facilitate interagency collaboration on the promotion of behavioral health and wellness.
- Increasing investment in behavioral health care | An Act to increase investment in behavioral health care in the Commonwealth | S.1287
- Establishing an Office of Behavioral Health Promotion | An Act establishing the Office of Behavioral Health Promotion | S.1275
Childhood trauma screenings
Trauma screenings are a common tool used by providers to detect early behavioral health concerns, but some often lack age- and cultural-sensitivity needed to sufficiently assess wellbeing. An advisory group will ensure screenings are adequate and appropriate, with a focus on screening and assessment for children in the care and custody of the Department of Children and Families.
- Advisory group to ensure screenings are adequate and appropriate | An Act relative to screening for childhood trauma | S.91