Wednesday, November 6, 2013

MassBudget: Mass. Leading the Way in Kids Mental Health Screening + New KIDS COUNT Report

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

Mental Health Screening for Moms and Kids 
To ensure that all kids across the Commonwealth have the chance to reach their full potential, Massachusetts has introduced a number of programs that support children's behavioral development.

The success of some of these efforts is reflected in a KIDS COUNT report released today by the Annie E. Casey foundation which finds Massachusetts leading the nation in providing screenings that assess whether a child is at risk for developmental or other behavioral health concerns and that allow for timely intervention.   

MassBudget's new brief, "It's a Family Affair: Massachusetts Leading the Way in Mental Health Screening for Moms and Kids," describes these initiatives and shows how the combination of early screening and effective intervention can work together to help children. We find that: 

  • Two-thirds of young, low-income children in Massachusetts get early, developmental screenings, compared to just one-third nationwide.

  • Massachusetts is making major strides in the assessment of post-partum depression.

  • Making sure that mental health screenings are followed up by community-based treatment and family supports could help improve outcomes for children. 

Research has shown that maternal depression affects the well-being of kids. According to Liz Friedman, Program Director for MotherWoman, "There are serious implications for children who are born to mothers with untreated depression or anxiety such as being more likely to experience social, emotional, and cognitive delays, have the potential of facing unintended neglect and can have lifelong increases in medical care utilization and expenses."

The national KIDS COUNT report, "The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success,"  presents a strong case for investing in the early years of a child's life. The report details the many, long-term benefits of investing in the early years of a child's life. For children to succeed, classroom learning should be integrated with other aspects of child development, such as social, emotional and physical development, to create opportunities for children to develop the full array of competencies they will need in life.

"All children need nurturing and plentiful opportunities to develop during their crucial first eight years," said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Foundation. "Today's complicated world can strain families' ability to ensure their children are receiving all the stimulation and care they need to develop to their full potential."
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.


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