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

doctor doing checkup on child

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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