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The lack of timely, quality and appropriate behavioral health services is one of the greatest barriers to success for DC kids.

Although tens of thousands of DC children have behavioral health needs, only a fraction of them actually receive timely supports and services. At Children’s Law Center, we know that many of the children we work with – including children in the foster care system or receiving special education services – only need our help because their needs have gone unaddressed.

It’s why fighting to improve the District’s behavioral healthcare system, which encompasses mental health and substance use treatment, is integral to our advocacy efforts. Whether we’re connecting our clients to the right therapist, developing reports with recommendations for system-wide reforms or advocating to get behavioral health supports in all DC public and public charter schools, we know that investments in behavioral health services make a critical difference in a child’s well-being.

Report: A Path Forward for the District’s Public Behavioral Health System

Our latest report, A Path Forward-Transforming the Public Behavioral Health System for Children, Youth, and their Families in the District of Columbia, is a blueprint for creating a successful public behavioral health system — one that supports children and families and, in doing so, strengthens our entire community.

A Path Forward Report: Transforming the Public Behavioral Health System

Strengthening Families Through Behavioral Health Coalition

The Strengthening Families Through Behavioral Health Coalition brings together a diverse group of advocates focused on education, juvenile justice, child welfare, and health, as well as representatives of the provider community and community-based organizations. The coalition’s advocacy resulted in the expansion of the School-Based Behavioral Health program to every DC public school and public charter school, connecting students with services right where they spend most of their day.