Advocates to to support children’s behavioral health

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2023

COLUMBUS – Ohio Children’s Alliance and approximately 400 supporters will gather in Columbus this week to address key advocacy and best practice issues facing Ohio’s child and family services system.

“Ohio is sustaining a crisis in addressing children’s mental health,” said Mark Mecum, CEO of the Alliance. “Significant clinical workforce shortages – including an insufficient number of licensed foster homes and staffed group care settings – are resulting in delays and placement shortages for kids. Wait lists for mental health services are too long, and many agencies have had to turn away referrals altogether. We are calling on state leaders to recognize the urgency and move forward with bold solutions.”

As part of the 50th Anniversary Annual Conference, Alliance members will meet with state legislators to voice support for expanding state funding for children’s behavioral health services in House Bill 33.Their requests include:

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• An increase for Medicaid payment rates for community behavioral health services by a total of 20% to stabilize and strengthen the behavioral health workforce.

Support for families and schools through the advancement of the Student Wellness and Success Fund. “Appropriate funding will stabilize and strengthen the community-based behavioral health workforce, ensure availability and continuity of care for kids in need, and bring new resources to schools, which are a natural setting to support behavioral health.” Mecum said. “We’re honored and excited to welcome this group to advocate for children, and hope supporters across Ohio will do the same by raising their voices to their state representatives and senators.”

Also as part of its 50th Anniversary Annual Conference and Advocacy Day, the Alliance will welcome special guests Martin Luther King III and Ohio Lt. Gov. Gov. Jon Husted.