Children’s emotional and behavioral health significantly impacts their overall health. Exposure to traumatic experiences such as violence and neglect, as well as deprivation that often accompanies poverty can negatively affect children’s behavior and, consequently, their most critical relationships with family and friends and their ability to succeed in school.
To ensure that every child realizes her innate potential to become a healthy adult, productive citizen and contributing member of society, PCCY has been dedicated to ameliorating the circumstances that contribute to child behavioral health problems and the barriers that impede children from accessing the services they need to feel better. PCCY has accomplished this through policy change and raising parental and public awareness about existing resources.
PCCY has developed a set of resource guides to help parents, school nurses and counselors, early education professionals, health care providers and others who care for children, particularly with Medicaid and CHIP coverage, find a behavioral health care provider. We’ve published two guides, one for infants and toddlers and one for children and adolescents in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties for children . For Philadelphia, the guide is in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Philadelphia Guide Books
- Birth To Five (English – Updated 2016)
- Children and Adolescents (Available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese)
Limited hard copies of these guides are available by calling PCCY at 215-563-5848 x11 to request.
PCCY advocates for good public policy to enable children to access the behavioral health care services they need to feel better and do better at home and at school. Of late, PCCY has pushed to get children in quicker to start therapy thus reducing wait times for services, to improve school-based services in Philadelphia and increase pediatrician’s involvement in identifying and referring children to services. Read about these efforts in the reports listed below.
- Philadelphia children wait too long to start the behavioral health treatment that they need. This policy brief contains the results of PCCY’s quarterly survey of wait times at children’s behavioral health agencies. We also describe the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health’s initiatives to address this problem and PCCY’s recommendations for further improvement.
- For the first time, PCCY makes public information about how many children are receiving services (about 5,000), that most are in 3rd and 4th grade, are African American boys and that the most prevalent diagnosis is ADHD. PCCY recommendations to improve school-based services include: tracking student outcomes, better communication and strengthened collaboration among stakeholders and increasing parents’ awareness of and engagement in these services.
- PCCY reports on how long it takes children in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties to begin their behavioral health treatment.
- More children are turning to their pediatrician for behavioral health needs, yet pediatricians report they do not have adequate time to address these concerns or adequate training to respond and difficulty knowing where to refer children for appropriate care. PCCY surveyed 101 Philadelphia pediatricians exploring their concerns about the growing number of children with behavioral health needs and pediatrician’s actual and perceived barriers in assisting them.
Behavioral health services are available to eligible Philadelphia students in over 100 schools in the District. The services are provided by private behavioral health agencies contracted by Community Behavioral Health, the entity that reimburses behavioral health providers for Medical Assistance enrollees. One of the criteria for students to qualify for services in their school is that they are enrolled in Medical Assistance.
To see which schools offer on-site services, which agencies serve those schools and who to contact to learn more about these programs, see the School-Based Behavioral Health Program Directory for 2014-2015 School Year below.