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Issue Brief 73: Ensuring Young Children Receive Mental Health Services: Barriers to Billing and Proposed Solutions


The foundation for mental health is laid in infancy and early childhood, but getting help when needed can be difficult for children under five. Between 7 and 10 percent of children under five experience clinically significant emotional, relational, or behavioral problems. Additionally, one in four children will witness or experience a potentially traumatic event by age four. Fortunately, awareness of the importance of infant and early childhood mental health is growing and the number of interventions to support young children at risk is expanding. Unfortunately, access to these services is often limited by current reimbursement regulations that require a diagnosis of a disorder, making it difficult to deliver mental health interventions to very young children who may not meet criteria. The result is that when parents indicate a need for mental health services, children ages 3-5 are less likely to receive them than their older peers.


Source: Child Health and Development Institute. (2020). Ensuring young children receive mental health services (Issue Brief No. 73).