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CDF-NY has adopted a holistic health agenda by advocating for healthcare services that meet both the physical and mental health needs of children. However, mental health services are not always accessible. In New York City, only 16,000 of an estimated 360,000 children with a diagnosable mental health condition are receiving services in the City’s mental health system4. Even when mental health care can be obtained, the services might not provide the child with the comprehensive care they need. For example, with the implementation of managed care plans, especially through public insurance policies such as Medicaid, mental health providers are only reimbursed for certain services and for a fixed amount of services per person, which leaves little room to account for and tend to individual patient needs5.
Such gaps in mental health care are especially detrimental to children from lower income areas, who are more susceptible to behavioral or emotional issues and whose families have more difficulty finding local providers that offer comprehensive, quality services6. In order to close this gap, CDF-NY has partnered with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest’s Health Justice Program in order to research mental health services in areas serving vulnerable children. In addition, we are internally coordinating with our Juvenile Justice and Education departments to analyze the intersection between mental health services and the Cradle to Prison Pipeline.