Where Does the Money Go? Project Looks at Spending for Children's Mental Health

In 2001 and 2002, Dougherty Management Associates of Lexington, Mass., conducted a second round of data collection from state and county mental health authorities and Medicaid agencies.

The Children's Mental Health Benchmarking Project aimed to provide measures concerning children's public mental health services, and included a conference in Santa Fe, N.M. for project respondents.

Dougherty gathered data on utilization, access, financing and the integration of mental health care with services from other agencies.

Key Findings

  • For 26 mental health authorities, the rate of children served per 1,000 children range from 3.8 to 53.5 with a mean of 19.3, while 25 Medicaid jurisdictions' rates ranged from 6.1 to 41.8 with a mean of 21.2 children served per 1,000 children.
  • The rates of inpatient days per 1000 children served by 20 mental health authorities ranged from 1.6 in Montana to 69.8 in Rhode Island, with a mean of 24.7 days.
  • Of the 19 mental health authorities reporting, expenditures per child served ranged greatly, from $234 in South Dakota to $8,083 in Rhode Island, with a mean of $2,373.