Children's Mental Health Initiative

The Indiana Department of Children's Services is working to provide parents/caregivers with a singular place to access care for their child. The DCS's Children's Mental Health Initiative is designed to help families who are caring for a child, between 6-17 years old, who is diagnosed with at least 2 mental illnesses.

The Children's Mental Health Initiative's objective is to allow families access to an array of services, without having to enter into the welfare or probation system. This new program gets mental health treatment services to children in families who don't qualify for Medicaid, and for those whose private insurance falls short. In the past, people who could not afford or access care, for one reason or another, were advised to give the state custody of their child. By giving up custody, the child was better able to receive care but at the enormous cost of losing the important family structure and parental advocacy.

This initiative also aims to make it easier to find and receive the right type of care, closest to where the family lives. Previously, services and agencies worked independently, making it extremely difficult for caregivers to find the right treatments or therapies; if the parents even knew such services existed.

Through the Children's Mental Health Initiative, there is now a local access site for each area in the state, where a child can get needed care and parents can receive education on types of therapies, all without being bounced around to different agencies.

Our organization has been talking with DMHA and DCS about these issues for some time, and we believe this is an important step in the right direction.