Health Care Strategies to Help Children Heal from Trauma

Health Care Policy and Payment Strategies to Improve Children’s Trauma Services

This guide provides a snapshot on where opportunities exist to make state health policy changes to address the acute and immediate symptoms of trauma for children and youth, as well as the longer term impacts of exposure to violence and abuse across the lifespan. It asks the question: what can we do today, in our state, to make tangible progress to improve the health care system response to children exposed to violence and trauma to prevent or heal the sometimes resulting symptoms of trauma? In what ways can our state advance insurance reform to realize the goals put forth in this recommendation? It makes recommendations to improve child well-being, family stability and community health, and gives specific attention to youth in the juvenile justice system, in foster care, and who are homeless.

No one solution or set of solutions will work in each state. The right solution will vary based on a number of factors including the structure of the state health insurance market, state politics, available funding sources, and the community-level support systems—but this paper shows that not only is it possible to increase access to trauma-informed services for children and caregivers, states are already using Medicaid to do it.

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Expansion of School-Based Health Services in California: An Opportunity for More Trauma-Informed Care for Children

This paper is a brief that describes a new opportunity for California to leverage federal funding to provide physical, mental, and behavioral health services in schools to Medicaid-enrolled students experiencing trauma and violence. It explains a newly approved Medicaid State Plan Amendment (SPA) that allows school districts – known as local education agencies (LEAs) – to access more federal funding for school-based health services. The SPA expands the ability of LEAs to seek federal reimbursement for school-based health services in three important ways: (1) all Medicaid-enrolled children are now covered; (2) more types of services are now covered; and (3) more types of providers are now covered. This brief also provides recommendations for partners on ways to advocate for increased trauma-informed care and services in schools and it lifts up the role of Medicaid as an important source of financing for these services. Trauma-informed care is one strategy to help advance education and health equity and ensure that children and families recover from trauma caused by violence and pervasive bias. Futures Without Violence worked in partnership with the Healthy Schools Campaign to develop this brief.

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Health Care Payment and Delivery System Reform for Children as a Tool to Improve the Health of Vulnerable Communities

This paper urges policymakers to recognize the long-term health, social, and economic benefits of upstream investments for children, including those who have experienced trauma, violence or severe adversity, and to fully include children in health care payment and delivery system reform. This paper examines the reasons children have been left out of current delivery system reform efforts, discusses existing and promising payment reform models and approaches, and makes recommendations for policymakers to develop and scale up payment models that make investments in evidence-based interventions that address the social factors in early childhood that drive long-term health outcomes. Futures Without Violence worked in partnership with Families USA to develop this paper.

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