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Napolitano & Kennedy Introduce Bill to Ensure Mental Health Services for Kids

July 12, 2017
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) Today, Reps. Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32) and Joe Kennedy III (MA-04) introduced the CHIP Mental Health Parity Act (H.R. 3192) to make critical mental health services available to all CHIP beneficiaries.

“It is absolutely critical that every child in America, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or ZIP code, has access to lifesaving mental health services,” said Congresswoman Napolitano, Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus. “Our bill moves us toward this goal by guaranteeing these services for all kids who receive care through CHIP, putting them on the path to lead healthy, productive lives. I thank Congressman Kennedy for his leadership on this bill, his passion for our children, and helping to elevate mental health to achieve full parity with physical health.”

“For generations, our nation’s failure to guarantee and enforce mental health parity has left families helpless as their loved ones suffer in silence,” said Congressman Kennedy. “Even in the midst of a deeply contentious health care debate, support for children and pregnant women experiencing mental illness should unite my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. As Congress considers the reauthorization of CHIP, extending the simple promise of parity to these beneficiaries must be a priority.”

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health coverage to eligible children, through both Medicaid and separate CHIP programs. CHIP is administered by states, according to federal requirements and funded jointly by states and the federal government. CHIP provides health insurance to about 8.9 million children. Congress is expected to consider CHIP reauthorization later this year.

Napolitano also recently introduced H.R. 2913, the Mental Health in Schools Act, bipartisan legislation that would create a total of $200 million in grant funding for 100 schools across the country to partner with local nonprofits to provide on-site, culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services for students. It is patterned after a successful pilot program started in 2001 in Napolitano’s area, which began in four schools that has now expanded to 26 schools throughout Los Angeles County, including much of the San Gabriel Valley.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

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