One of the first projects of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children will be to map where mental health and substance abuse service providers are around the state. “Mental health,” in this case, includes intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Casey Family Programs will be assisting the Commission with this project.
This mapping project addresses the top priority issues of the Commission: the availability and access to quality mental health services and to improve data sharing and communication across agencies. The mapping tool will enable policymakers to identify underserved or unserved areas, identify areas that might be experiencing duplication of services, make more informed funding decisions, and spot barriers to services.
Let’s hope the information is gathered quickly and accurately, as there is a huge need in the rural communities for better access to appropriate mental health services. The goal should be to keep mentally ill children in their home communities and out of the juvenile justice system, when possible.