FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. – May 18, 2023 – ZERO TO THREE, the nation’s leading nonprofit working to ensure all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life, applauds New York’s recently approved FY 2024 budget, which includes a $1 billion transformative, multi-year investment to overhaul the State’s continuum of mental health care and reduce the number of New Yorkers with unmet mental health needs.
Notably, the budget will expand mental health services for children and families by providing an additional $12 million for Home-Based Crisis Intervention (HBCI) teams and ZERO TO THREE’s evidence-based HealthySteps program. The budget also establishes Medicaid reimbursement for community health workers for high-risk populations and permits licensed mental health counselors and licensed marriage and family therapists in community health centers to bill for services delivered.
“This investment highlights New York’s role as a leader in committing to mental health care and treatment for all, and the importance of prevention and treatment to set the youngest New Yorkers up for current and long-term health and well-being,” said Dr. Rahil Briggs, National Director of HealthySteps and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. “We are thrilled to be able to provide the proven benefits of HealthySteps for more children, families and communities, in coordination with our partners in the state.”
HealthySteps currently reaches more than 78,000 children across 52 sites in New York State, with at least 30 sites expected to join the network in the next year. This meaningful investment will drive expanded access for families across the state and help ensure current patients continue to see the benefits of the transformative HealthySteps model, including:
- stronger early social and emotional development,
- successful connections between families and early intervention services,
- timely autism screenings and referrals, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment and
- more frequent maternal depression screenings and referrals, supporting prevention and access to treatment.
Altogether, the advancements in the FY24 budget will help improve access to a continuum of behavioral health care for all New Yorkers, including essential preventative care. As per the New York State Office on Mental Health, “The Executive Budget demonstrates Governor Hochul’s commitment to enhancing and expanding access to mental health services to ensure people receive the support they need in the most appropriate and effective setting.”
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HealthySteps is an evidence-based program of ZERO TO THREE, the nation’s leading nonprofit working to ensure all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. HealthySteps transforms the promise of pediatric primary care through a unique team-based approach that integrates a HealthySteps Specialist, a child development expert, into the health care team. All children ages 0-3 and their families receive a tiered model of services, from universal screening to risk-stratified supports, including care coordination and onsite intervention, as needed. HealthySteps practices serve as trusted and valuable partners as families foster their children’s healthy development. Together, the national network of HealthySteps sites aims to reach more than 1 million young children and families annually by 2032. Visit healthysteps.org or contact ZERO TO THREE to learn more at zerotothree.org.
About ZERO TO THREE
ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all infants and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, visit zerotothree.org, facebook.com/zerotothree, or follow @ZEROTOTHREE on Twitter.