Children's Mental Health Campaign From 2006 Until Now

For 14 years, the Children's Mental Health Campaign has driven the movement for better mental health care for all kids forward.

On January 26, 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor issued an almost 100 page decision that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts violated the federal Medicaid Act by failing to provide appropriate home based mental health care to an estimated 15,000 children.
"Children's Mental Health in the Commonwealth: The Time is NOW" white paper, published by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Boston Children's Hospital, examined the system of care for children with mental health needs in Massachusetts. Not surprisingly, the report demonstrated that there were significant shortcomings in children’s mental health. The Campaign's policy agenda is launched in November, 2006.
The Campaign expands to include the Parent/Professional Advocacy League, Health Care for All, & Health Law Advocates.

An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health

Approved on August 20, 2008, the Act creates a structure for enhancing early identification, treating children in the most appropriate setting, enhancing coordination among state health care agencies, and establishing mechanisms for oversight of and input into the state's children's mental health system.

Parity Laws

The passage of Chapter 256 expands mental health parity. The Campaign advocates for this law, which strengthens the state's mental health parity law by expanding the categories of disorders for which health insurance plans must provide mental health benefits.
The Campaign helps to lead the drive to replace the state's CHINS (Child in Need of Services) system for coping with children with serious disciplinary services (many of whom have behavioral health conditions) with the new FACES (Families and Children Engaged in Services) system. FACES offers families access to community-based services to keep children out of the juvenile justice system.
The accompanying Massachusetts law is enacted on August 7, 2012
Governor Deval Patrick signs a provision into law realizing the Campaign’s efforts to establish a statewide “safe and supportive framework” to assist schools to create learning environments. This provision improves educational outcomes for youth with behavioral health conditions.
The Campaign’s advocacy for supporting adolescent substance use prevention takes a leap forward with the enactment of an Act relative to substance use, treatment, education and prevention (STEP Act) which outlines how public schools in the Commonwealth should engage in substance use screening and education. The Campaign continues to work to prevent youth substance use and misuse by expanding a risk-assessment tool called SBIRT, or Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment, throughout the state.

Learn more about our work in substance use prevention here:

The Children’s Mental Health Campaign hosts its Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Summit in June, 2017, to convene a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss inequities in infant & early childhood mental health care (IECMH). The recommendations and action steps captured at this convening continues to inform CMHC’s work to address equity, workforce development, access to services & supports, and public awareness in the infant and early childhood space.
The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health joins the Campaign, and becomes the sixth partner organization.
The Campaign becomes a funded partner for the Boston Children's Collaboration for Community Health to engage in targeted efforts to operationalize behavioral health equity. With support from Massachusetts Public Health Association, CMHC will develop goals, strategies, processes and tools for ensuring that policy priorities, external communications and organizational culture facilitate the promotion of behavioral health equity.

CMHC has grown over the years to include a diverse coalition of over 200 endorsing organizations, families, advocates, health care providers, and educators who are dedicated to ensuring that every child in the Commonwealth receives the highest quality mental health care.