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July/August 2013Vol. 14, No. 6Behavioral Health Services for Children, Youth

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a joint informational bulletin about home- and community-based services for children, youth, and young adults with significant mental health conditions. The bulletin is intended to help States devise benefit packages to help this vulnerable population—many of whom have been treated in residential treatment centers, group homes, or psychiatric hospitals—successfully live in their own homes and communities.

The bulletin outlines two Federal initiatives, one through CMS and another through SAMHSA, to address the needs of children and youth with mental health conditions. SAMHSA's Children's Mental Health Initiative (CMHI) promotes a coordinated, community-based approach with children, youth, and their families. The CMS Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) Demonstration Program was designed to determine the effectiveness of community-based services for youth who are in or at risk of entering a PRTF.

SAMHSA and CMS note that, in addition to providing traditional services such as family therapy and medication management, their initiatives also included intensive community-based services that lead to positive outcomes for children and youth. The bulletin outlines some of those services, including wraparound services, peer services, respite care, mobile crisis response, and more. The bulletin also points to resources available to States to help their work in developing benefit packages and comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act and other Medicaid requirements.

Coverage of Behavioral Health Services for Children, Youth, and Young Adults With Significant Mental Health Conditions is available here: (271 KB)