DC Kids and Families Need Access to Behavioral Health

The ongoing unpredictability of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – including the economic shutdown, distance learning and other “new normals” – have resulted in a rise in behavioral health issues among children and families nationally. The District was already facing a major behavioral health crisis, but with the weight of the pandemic – that crisis has worsened. DC’s children and families – especially low-income and Black, Latinx and immigrant residents – are shouldering an unequal burden. 

Now more than ever, DC residents need  more, not less  access to consistent and affordable behavioral health care.   

That is why PAVE is partnering with organizations across the District to form the Strengthening Families Through Behavioral Health Coalition. The Strengthening Families Coalition is advocating for the Mayor and DC Council to protect existing funding and expand investments in the Department of Behavioral Health’s School-Based Mental Health Program (SBMH) and community behavioral health services (CBOs) in the District’s 2021 budget. 

The vision of the Coalition is to ensure DC has a fully integrated behavioral health care system in which all DC students, children, youth and families have timely access to high-quality, consistent, affordable and culturally responsive care that meets their needs and enables them to thrive.

Strengthening Families Coalition Mission Statement

The mission of the Coalition to bring together a diverse group of advocates focused on education, juvenile justice, child welfare, and health, as well as representatives of the provider community and community-based organizations, for the purpose of:

  • Engaging with legislators, policymakers, and other stakeholders regarding DC’s behavioral health system; 
  • Advancing legislation, public policies, and practices that improve DC’s behavioral health system for children and families; and 
  • Advocating for effective, adequate, and equitable spending on all aspects of DC’s behavioral health system.

Read the full Coalition charter

Support the Coalition 

Learn More About SBMH and CBOs

Testimonies Before the DC Council

Behavioral Health in the News