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LB&FC Releases Report on Child Mental Health System
June 22, 2006

The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LB&FC) released the findings and recommendations of a year long study of the Pennsylvania mental health service systems for children and youth. Immediately following the release of the report, staff met with the PCPA Board of Directors to review and discuss findings and recommendations. The complete report is available for viewing and download. To access the LB&FC report Pennsylvania’s Mental Health System for Children and Youth:

1. Access http://lbfc.legis.state.pa.us/.
2. Select "Reports Released" from the menu on the left side.
3. Scroll down to the heading "Health and Welfare."
4. Click on the first report listed "PA's Mental Health System for Children and Youth."

A copy of the report is also available from the LB&FC by calling 717-783-1600 or sending an email request to info@lbfc.legis.state.pa.us.

Key Findings and Recommendations
Gaps and concerns identified in the report include:

  • Services are not currently well integrated.
  • State outcome data is lacking.
  • Shortage of child psychiatry services needs to be addressed.
  • There is a lack of services for transition-age youth and young adults.
  • There is a lack of services for co-occurring disorders.
  • Educational services in partial hospital programs should be expanded.
  • There is a lack of respite care services.
  • There is a need for prevention services.
  • There is a need for expanded training and current work force shortages.
  • There is a need for culturally appropriate services.

Recommendations of the report include:

  • The state should develop a strategic plan with priorities for mental health services.
  • The governor should create a Children’s Mental Health Services Coordinator reporting directly to the Secretaries of Public Welfare, Education, and Health.
  • The state should encourage evidence based service development.
  • The Department of Public Welfare should strengthen controls to ensure payment is only for delivered services.
  • The Juvenile Act should be amended to address issues of confidentiality and self-incrimination.
  • The Department of Insurance should explore including evidence based services in the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

For additional information or questions, contact Connell O'Brien.

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