Children's Hospitals' Statement on Enactment of the American Rescue Plan of 2021
WASHINGTON, DC — Children's hospitals applaud the enactment of the American Rescue Plan of 2021, which contains numerous provisions benefitting the health and well-being of children and families. The legislation commits resources to stop the spread of COVID-19, expands access to affordable childcare and increases the Child Tax Credit.
The investment of billions of additional spending to broadly expand behavioral and mental health services, including $80 million for the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program, is an important first step in mitigating the profound mental and behavioral health needs of children and youth.
The need for behavioral and mental health services among children and youth has never been greater. Every day, children's hospitals and pediatricians strive to meet an unprecedented demand for treatment, accelerated by the pandemic's stressful impact on children and families. More intentional investment of resources in pediatric behavioral health is urgently needed.
Children's hospitals call on the administration to prioritize children and their access to community- and provider-based mental and behavioral health services through the allocation of funding for COVID-19 relief and existing programs.
While the pandemic has severely strained the pediatric safety net, children's hospitals remain dedicated to addressing the health care needs of every child. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to strengthen the safety net for all children and to preserve our nation's pediatric infrastructure.