Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

How States Use Medicaid to Cover Key Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Services
Results of a 50-State Survey (2018 Update)

Authors: Sheila Smith, Maribel R. Granja, Uyen (Sophie) Nguyen, and Kavita Rajani
Publication Date: November 2018

There is now substantial evidence that young children’s mental health plays a critical role in their early learning and school readiness, long-term school success and self-sufficiency, and future health and mental health outcomes. Fortunately, many states are working to strengthen supports for infants’ and young children’s mental health. This brief examines states’ Medicaid coverage for key infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) services, along with policies that contribute to service access and quality. It presents the results of an updated 50-state survey that gathered information from state administrators about Medicaid coverage and policies related to the following services for children from birth to age 6:

  • Child screening for social-emotional problems
  • Maternal depression screening in pediatric and family medicine settings
  • Developmentally appropriate diagnosis using DC:0–5
  • Family navigators to help families access services
  • Mental health services in pediatric, child care and early education, and home settings
  • Dyadic (parent-child) treatmen
  • Parenting programs to address child mental health needs