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Biden Administration Invests in Pediatric Mental Health Access

by Guila Todd | Sep 01, 2021
This announcement is a part of the Biden administration’s larger push to increase the accessibility of mental and behavioral health care services for children.

On Friday, August 27, 2021, the Biden administration announced it had invested $10.7 million in American Rescue Plan funding to expand the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program, also known as the HRSA MCHB 21st Century Cures Act Programs. This program supports state and regional efforts to provide tele-consultation, training, technical assistance, and care coordination to pediatric primary care providers treating children with behavioral health conditions.

"I'm proud to announce nearly $11 million in grants to expand access to pediatric mental health care through telehealth, made possible by President Biden's American Rescue Plan," said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. "The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, especially children. This critical funding will not only improve the livelihoods of children and their families, but also secure the future of our country. We will continue to make investments that ensure our youngest Americans grow up strong and healthy."

The expansion broadens the program’s reach from 21 funding awards in 21 states to 45 awards in 40 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Republic of Palau. It also provides support to two Tribal areas – the Chickasaw Nation and the Red Lake Band of the Chippewa Indians. The announcement is a part of the Biden administration’s larger push to increase the accessibility of mental and behavioral health care services for children.

Twenty-four organizations received funds to expand pediatric mental health care access by integrating telehealth services into pediatric care. The American Counseling Association is communicating with the Health Resources & Services Administration to advocate for licensed professional counselors being permitted to apply for grant funding and access it independently if they are not employed by their states’ Department of Social Services office. We will continue to monitor progress on this issue and update you on these funding opportunities.

Want to get involved in ACA’s advocacy efforts? Contact the ACA Government Affairs and Public Policy team at advocacy@counseling.org.

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