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Health, Science & Environment

Ohio Creates Program To Coordinate Mental And Behavioral Health Care For Children, Young Adults

young adult with hands in hair.
Flickr Creative Commons

Ohio is launching a new program aimed at coordinating care for kids with complex mental and behavioral health issues. It's part of a plan to keep families intact while seeking treatment.

Children, teenagers, and young adults with severe mental health issues can often bounce from one agency or provider to another for the care they need — a phenomenon known as multi-system youth.

In some cases, parents have had to relinquish custody to qualify for funds needed for care, or they had to send their children to a congregate care setting like a group home. 

Earlier this week, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state is creating the program OhioRISE to coordinate care for thousands of people with serious mental health and behavioral health issues.

The Ohio Department of Medicaid says "the current absence of accountable, focused coordination to integrate these programs leaves parents facing an overly complex system of care during times of family crisis."

The goal of OhioRISE is to bring treatment to those in need, allowing them to stay in their own community.

"So that our children are able to stay in their home and have their families not overwhelmed by the needs that are presenting from all of these different presenting problems that include not only aggression toward others, but aggression toward themselves," says Habeebah Grimes, CEO of Positive Education Program in northeast Ohio.

The state is partnering with Aetna to create the program.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.