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Government News
State Gets Mediocre Grade
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 3 page 5-5

As the debate over the need for a comprehensive health care program in California raged this winter, a child-welfare group released an assessment of California's health care and educational standing that gave the state a" C" in children's mental health care (see Calif. Lawmakers Wrangle Over Insurance Mandates).

The "California Report Card 2008" by Children Now, a nonprofit and nonpartisan child-advocacy organization, was based on a range of statistics, including findings that nearly half a million California children have "unmet mental health needs."

The report cites in particular mental health care needs among children in the state's foster-care system and echoes previous findings by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research that more than half of such children had no medical care before entering the foster-care system.

"We do know that there is a huge gap in services there for this particular population," said Randall Hagar, director of government affairs for the California Psychiatric Association (CPA).

The report card comes as CPA is urging passage of legislation (AB 1330) to require a comprehensive health assessment of all children in California's foster system. Such a first-time comprehensive assessment would provide needed data to indicate to policymakers how to correct health care shortcomings in the foster system, according to Hagar.

The "California Report Card 2008" is posted at<http://publications.childrennow.org/publications/invest/reportcard_2008.cfm>.

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