Recent research has indicated that clinicians under-identify patients who are in need of mental health
services when they rely solely on their impressions
during a routine visit. One large study found that pediatricians identified only one of five children with behavioral health problems, and another found that the identification of potential behavioral health problems increases when standardized developmental, mental health and substance abuse screening tools are used. In young children, behavior and development are
intrinsically linked, as developmental difficulties correlate with behavioral problems.
The new Rosie D. state mandate, which is the result of a lawsuit filed in October 2001 by nine plaintiffs ages 5 to 16 who had been hospitalized or were at risk of hospitalization due to the lack of intensive home-based mental health services, stipulates that providers are now required to offer Mass Health patients the use of a standardized behavioral health screening tool at every Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) and Preventive Pediatric Health Care Screening and Diagnosis (PPHSD) visit. Fortunately, the tools that help identify children at risk for developmental delays and behavioral health problems are now available and enable early identification and intervention.
To further help children receive mental health services, Children's Hospital Boston has collaborated with the Boston Bar Association to produce a free guide for
parents on how to navigate Massachusetts mental health services, called The Parents' How-to Guide to Children's Mental Health Services in Massachusetts. The book and accompanying Web site can help
families find resources and learn about how to pay
for specific services.
Online developmental screening tool kit: developmentalscreening.org/index.htm
Rosie D. update: