, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 401-411
Date: 07 Feb 2008

The Healthy People 2010 Outcomes for the Care of Children with Special Health Care Needs: An Effective National Policy for Meeting Mental Health Care Needs?

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Abstract

Objectives To assess the effectiveness of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s (MCHB) Six Core Outcomes for children with special health care needs (CSHCN) as indicators in measuring the degree to which mental health care needs are met. Methods This study analyzes data from the 2001 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs for 9,748 CSHCN who needed mental health care. Bivariate and logistic analyses were employed to investigate the impact of the MCHB’s Six Core Outcomes on the probability of having an unmet need for mental health services. Results Of the 2.3 million CSHCN in the U.S. who needed mental health care in 2001, almost one-fifth did not receive all of the mental health services that they needed. Ultimately, eight Outcomes and sub-categories of Outcomes were considered. Sixty-one percent of CSHCN with a need for mental health care had care that fulfills six of the eight considered Outcomes. Logistic analysis indicates that individual fulfillment of each of the Core Outcomes and fulfillment of additional Outcomes have a significant association with reducing the probability of having an unmet mental health care need for CSHCN. Conclusions This study is the first attempt to apply the Six Core Outcomes to meeting the needs for mental health care among CSHCN. Estimates of unmet need for mental health care suggest that efforts can be made to improve access for CSHCN. The initial estimates generated by this study indicate that the MCHB Outcomes are important in meeting children’s mental health needs and are important indicators for informing MCHB policy.