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Classified in: Health
Subjects: NPT, CHI

Bill to Improve Outcomes for Kids with Complex Mental Health Needs Becomes Law

Organizations focused on child health collaborated to ensure this program will help kids receive mental health support in the right place, at the right time

DENVER, June 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Governor Jared Polis signed into law House Bill 23-1269 to improve outcomes for kids with complex mental health needs. 

Across the state each month, dozens of children and youth with mental health conditions end up boarding in emergency departments, county human services offices and hotels because there are limited treatment settings to meet their mental health needs. Additional children and youth may end up stuck in hospitals for an extended period of time because there are limited community settings for them to discharge to.

"Children and youth deserve to have equitable access to robust mental health services including community support and touchpoints before they're in a crisis. And if a crisis does occur, children need to have comprehensive options for 'stepping down' once they are medically stable," said Dr. Ron-Li Liaw, Mental Health-in-Chief at Children's Hospital Colorado. "For kids with complex mental health needs, prolonged boarding can mean delayed treatment and recovery, extended absences from schools and undue stress on both kids and their caregivers. For healthcare providers, lack of options for their patients who are boarding can cause moral distress and burnout. We are proud to have led a diverse coalition that was willing to identify solutions and funding to support these vulnerable children and youth."

The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Representatives Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez with Senators Jeff Bridges and Bob Gardner, and unanimously passed by the Colorado State Senate. House Bill 23-1269 will:

"We are committed to achieving our goal of ensuring all young people in Colorado can access the right treatment at the right time," said Mollie Bradlee, Deputy Director, Office of Children, Youth and Families at the Colorado Department of Human Services. "This bill helps us take a strong step in that direction, and we'll keep problem-solving, innovating, partnering, and iterating until we get there."

"We are thankful to our partners and the State for working together and with us to prioritize this legislation," said Janet Rowland, Mesa County Commissioner and Chair of Colorado Counties Inc.'s Health and Human Services Steering Committee. "The interim funding will maintain newly created residential capacity for Colorado children and youth in crisis with the most complex behavioral health needs. We look forward to working in the next year to identify long-term, sustainable funding to continue to expand and strengthen Colorado's care continuum for children and youth so that every child is able to access the appropriate level of care they need in our state, close to their families and communities."

About the Colorado Department of Human Services

The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) connects people with assistance, resources and support for living independently in our state. CDHS operates 24 direct-care facilities that serve Coloradans with acute behavioral health needs, juveniles, older adults, people with disabilities and veterans. The agency also administers programs that improve the safety, independence and well-being of Colorado's children, youth and families.

About Colorado Counties, Inc.

Colorado Counties, Inc. cultivates shared knowledge and awareness of county government services among county leaders. Through discussion, united action and a respect for the tremendous diversity of counties throughout the state, CCI helps commissioners work toward solutions on matters that touch the lives of local residents. 


Children's Hospital Colorado is one of the nation's leading and most expansive nonprofit pediatric healthcare systems with a mission to improve the health of children through patient care, education, research and advocacy. Founded in 1908 and recognized as a top 10 children's hospital by?U.S. News & World Report,?Children's Colorado?has established itself as a pioneer in?the discovery of innovative and groundbreaking treatments that are shaping the future of pediatric healthcare worldwide. Children's Colorado offers a full spectrum of family-centered care at its urgent, emergency and specialty care locations throughout Colorado, including an academic medical center on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, hospitals in Colorado Springs, Highlands Ranch and Broomfield, and outreach clinics?across the?region.?For more information, visit www.childrenscolorado.org or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  

Children's Hospital Colorado complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-720-777-9800.

CHÚ Ý: N?u b?n nói Ti?ng Vi?t, có các d?ch v? h? tr? ngôn ng? mi?n phí dành cho b?n. G?i s? 1-720-777-9800.


Contact: Sarah Davis, Children's Hospital Colorado 
Phone: 303-890-8314  
Email: sarah.davis@childrenscolorado.org

SOURCE Children's Hospital Colorado

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