In drafting comments on how we can improve behavior health services for children, youth, and their families (especially child welfare) there are some important sources of recommendations

Earlier this year, Child Trends issued:  A National Agenda for Children’s Mental Health.


The paper says that “Efforts to promote children’s mental health are often spread across multiple agencies that operate independently of one another, leading to fractured efforts that have resulted in the education, child welfare, and juvenile justice sectors serving as a de facto mental health system for children and youth.”  An important point since some critics blame child welfare systems for not fixing mental health and substance use treatment needs that should be addressed through behavioral health systems.


The report goes on with, “Communities and states must work together to develop effective systems for coordinating mental health promotion, identification (mental health and trauma screening and assessment), early intervention, treatment, and follow-up.”


Another important resource is a 2019 report by the National Academy of Sciences: Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth: A National Agenda (2019).


This report summarizes … “disorders frequently manifest during childhood or adolescence. They impose significant burdens for individuals and their families, hindering young people’s development into healthy and productive adults. They are also costly to society, accounting for the highest rates of disability in the U.S. population in 2015 and contributing to rates of school dropout, incarceration, and homelessness. The economic burden is great not only in terms of direct spending but also because of lost earnings, reduced productivity, and other indirect costs. The nation’s economic and civic well-being depends on a healthy adult population capable of productive work and stable relationships.”