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Testimony: Behavioral Health for Children and Youth in Foster Care

December 6, 2023

Children’s Law Center staff testified at the Committee on Health and Committee on Facilities and Family Services public hearing on Alternative Restorative Therapy Options for Youth Amendment Act of 2023 and Mental Health in the Child Welfare System.

Senior Supervising Policy Attorney Tami Weerasingha-Cote and A Path Forward Project Lead Amber Rieke testified about the ongoing challenges that foster youth face when attempting to access behavioral health services, explained why we must build a stronger, public behavioral health system and identified concrete steps the District can take to improve specific aspects of the system that are most significantly impacting our foster youth.

Senior Attorney Megan Conway, Staff Attorney Rachel Ungar and Staff Attorney William Cox also testified — each sharing examples from the children and teens who are in foster care or involved with the DC Child and Family Services Agency – as well as their parents and caregivers – who are often unable to access basic behavioral health services in a timely manner. Read each of their testimonies below: