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Getting Indiana's Kids The Help They Need
Updated February 17, 2016 6:50 AM | Filed under: Health
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - A program launched two years ago has helped more than 800 Indiana families with children who are suffering from behavior problems or mental health issues by cutting the time their parents spend searching for assistance.

The Department of Child Services say one in eight young people in Indiana needed mental health treatment or counseling last year, but there's only one doctor for every 750 kids in the state.

The goal of the Children's Mental Health initiative is to provide quick help for families with kids who are experiencing behavior problems or mental health issues - before they wind up in court.

Katie Connel, service manager with DCS says, in the past, a parent would call the state for help and get shuffled around so much they'd sometimes give up. Funding was then provided so referral agencies would always be close at hand.

"Those sites ware now in every 92 counties so families now have an option," Connel added. "TH]hey have a number to call if there are significant behavioral health needs or if there are some mental health needs that are not being met."

Connel says it started as a pilot program in 2012 and was moved to all of the Indiana's counties in March of 2014. She says so fare more than 800 families have been helped.

"Parents can no call for help as soon as behavior problems begin instead of waiting util it gets out of control," she added. "We've been able to keep kids in the right system and we've been able to help families navigate some of our big service delivery systems that may be a bit scary to them or just a bit overwhelming, so even with that communication in general I think we've been successful with many families."

Connel says the point is to keep kids at home while they're getting help as opposed to sending them away.

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