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The Washington Informer: During Budget Season, Mental Health Care System Becomes Major Concern

March 23, 2022

Smiling photo of article subject, Amber Golden.

Children’s Law Center has long advocated for transforming the District’s behavioral healthcare system for children and families to improve access to related services and supports. It’s why we partnered with more than a dozen community partners and health advocates to release the new report, A Path Forward, and have continued advocating for investments in the School-Based Behavioral Health Program.

The Washington Informer’s Sam P.K. Collins covered our recent press briefing on behavioral health and advocacy efforts, as well as spoke with experts who helped create A Path Forward, including Matthew Biel of MedStar Georgetown and Gail Avent of the Total Family Care Coalition:

During a budget oversight hearing on Monday, the D.C. Council Committee on Health engaged DBH representatives in discussion about school-based behavioral health programs and other topics of concern for parents and mental health advocates. 

One week prior, Children’s Law Center and other community partners revealed their budget requests, including $10.3 million in funding for community-based behavioral health services and $2.4 million for the expansion of school-based programs. In explaining their reasoning, the group of advocates said with the dearth of providers, school-based behavioral health programs need to be sustained.

“The most common experience is parents calling and there’s no help available. We need to change that,” said Matthew Biel, chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Northwest.