Original Article

Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 364-370

First online:

Children’s Mental-Health Language Access Laws: State Factors Influence Policy Adoption

  • Mary SchmeidaAffiliated withKent State University
  • , Ramona McNealAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, University of Northern Iowa Email author 

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Despite federal legislation to equalize healthcare for children with limited English language proficiency, some state healthcare agencies and programs fall short in providing children’s linguistic services for mental healthcare. While some states have been aggressive in passing cultural and linguistic laws aimed at providing protection for children, other states have not, limiting children of all ages to potential substandard care. This research uses state-level data and multivariate regression analysis to explore why some states are adopting these laws, whereas others are not. We find two dissimilar forces with unrelated goals must work in tandem to bring about policy change—the desire of civil rights and liberty groups to ensure equality in the delivery of healthcare services, and the desire of state legislature to reduce healthcare costs.


Children’s language laws Limited English proficiency Mental-health public policy Equitable healthcare access Multivariate regression analysis