Family Service wins Foundations Community Partnership Grant to support children’s mental health counseling

According to data from the Family Service Association of Bucks County (Family Service) call center, children of all socioeconomic groups in Bucks County are experiencing unprecedented mental health challenges.

Unfortunately, many of these children in crisis cannot be treated by Family Service clinicians, due to barriers put in place by many commercial insurers. A recent $12,500 Innovation and Improvement grant from the Foundations Community Partnership (FCP) aims to address this growing problem.

Family Service operates the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and CONTACT Help Line for Bucks County. Since 2019, there has been a dramatic increase in crisis calls from or about children 12 and under; as well as those between 13 and 17 years old.

Insurance companies expect those with commercial insurance to be treated only by licensed clinicians. As the job market for licensed clinicians has become increasingly competitive, hiring has been a challenge. Thus, callers with commercial insurance are placed on a waiting list for a Family Service licensed clinician, or the carrier will not cover treatment.

This funding will help cover the out-of-pocket costs for a portion of these children to be treated by one of the family service Masters level clinicians, all of whom are very capable and willing to counsel them, as they already do for clients of Medicaid. , as licensure is not a requirement under Medicaid policy.

Julie Dees, Managing Director of Family Service, is grateful to FCP for their recognition and understanding of this serious issue.

“Even before the pandemic, we were seeing an increase in mental health crises for our children and young people,” Dees said. “It’s both frustrating and sad, because it’s preventable…”

She continued: “Family Service is grateful to FCP for this funding as it will absolutely help close this coverage gap until a long-term solution is determined and allow these struggling children to get the advice immediate they need.”

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