As Easy as ABCD: Lessons from an Initiative to Improve Children's Mental Health Services

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<p>Left unchecked, delays in social, emotional, and behavioral development have high costs and long-term consequences for the health, education, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems--and for children's futures.<br><br>The second phase of the Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) initiative--supported by The Commonwealth Fund and administered by the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP)--provided five states with the opportunity to develop and test strategies for preventing developmental delays and providing early intervention services. <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2008/feb/improving-the-delivery-of-health-care-that-supports-young-childrens-healthy-mental-development--upda
">Improving the Delivery of Health Care That Supports Young Children's Healthy Mental Development: Update on Accomplishments and Lessons from a Five-State Consortium</a>, by NASHP's Neva Kaye and Jill Rosenthal, shows how these states were able to improve screening and follow-up services for young children by upgrading insurance coverage, reforming reimbursement policies, and boosting health system performance.</p><p>The authors show how the states:<ul><li>identified validated screening tools and helped pediatric providers integrate these tools into their practices;</li><li>facilitated appropriate referral to follow-up services;</li><li>addressed policy barriers in Medicaid and early intervention programs;</li><li>formed key partnerships with other state agencies, clinicians, and provider organizations to achieve project goals; and</li><li>undertook quality improvement activities to produce and sustain improvements in care.</li></ul>Read the report to learn more, and also be sure to check out the <a href="… Resource Center</a>.</p>