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Assessing Child Mental Health Services in New York: A Report on Three Focus Groups, Winter 2003.

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In 2002, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law investigated the impact of expanding child mental health services in Medicaid on the actual availability of services to children. To assess family satisfaction, focus groups were held in two states: Oregon and New York. Both states have a comprehensive Medicaid mental health benefit for children with serious disorders. This report summarizes findings from the New York focus groups. The families who participated reported that they generally found Medicaid-covered services helpful--when they are able to get them. Many child mental health service providers do not accept Medicaid. While some of their children had access to special programs that provide particularly helpful services, most of the focus group families found obtaining mental health and supportive services for their child extremely difficult. In most cases basic treatment (medications and therapy) was relatively more accessible, but in-home services were generally unavailable to families unless they had access to one of the few slots in the state's Medicaid home- and community-based waiver program. Parents in all three groups said they had often tried in vain to make providers aware of their child's problems. Deficiencies in New York's approach to childrens mental health services have led to a system where children repeatedly--and parents felt, needlessly--go into crisis. The parents drew a picture of a system in New York State that wastes precious human and financial resources by making it so difficult for families to raise their children at home and to ensure them appropriate education and health care as they grow up. Two appendixes contain the focus group methodology and data tables. (GCP)

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Author:Koyanagi, Chris; Semansky, Rafael
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Clinical report
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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