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2022-23 Oversight Testimony: Department of Behavioral Health

February 1, 2023

Children’s Law Center Policy Director Sharra E. Greer and A Path Forward Project Lead Amber Rieke both testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Health about the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH). Many of the children we work with—children in the foster care system or receiving special education services—only need our help because their behavioral health needs have gone unaddressed.

Sharra spoke about DBH’s early childhood and pediatric programs, specifically Healthy Futures, DC Mental Health Access in Pediatrics (DC MAP) and School-Based Behavioral Health Expansion Program. She emphasized the need for careful planning and oversight in the provision of behavioral health services to youth in the foster care system. Sharra also recommended several reforms for the disjointed, incomplete landscape of services, with a particular focus on workforce development and retention.

In her testimony, Amber set forth the steps needed to fully implement the School-Based Behavioral Health Expansion Program so that every DC child has access to high-quality, consistent and culturally responsive behavioral health care in school.

Get to know the Strengthening Families Coalition

The Strengthening Families Through Behavioral Health Coalition is made up of more than 20 advocates focused on education, juvenile justice, child welfare and health, as well as representatives of the provider community and community-based organizations. Learn more about how we work to advance legislation and policies that improve DC’s behavioral health system for children and families, and follow #TeamSBBH on Twitter as we advocate for effective, adequate and equitable spending on all aspects of DC’s behavioral health system.

Strengthening Families Through Behavioral Health