California’s children’s hospitals have a unique perspective on the state’s behavioral health system, including its shortcomings. Across the socioeconomic spectrum, emergency departments are treating an increasing number of children in crisis. Sometimes these children have had no previous interaction with a behavioral health provider, despite their symptomatology. They may also face significant barriers to obtaining outpatient or residential treatment even after their emergency department visit or psychiatric inpatient stay.
CCHA is working to raise awareness about this crisis and to advocate for changes to state and federal law to improve access to early prevention, intervention and treatment services for children struggling with behavioral health issues.