Clinicians who serve children and adolescents with complex mental health needs generally find themselves interfacing with multiple child-serving systems and community programs, including juvenile justice, child welfare, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and schools. AACAP advocates for the improvement of services in each of the systems to ensure children have access to a full array of prevention, early intervention, and treatment options.

To learn more about AACAP's clinical practice resources for community-based systems of care, click here.

Funding for Community-Based Systems of Care
Through the annual federal appropriations process, AACAP advocates for increased funding for federal agencies and laws that support state and community mental health treatment and services.

Foster Care
A December 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office report discusses the use of psychotropic medications with children in foster care. The report highlights AACAP's Position Statement on Oversight of Psychotropic Medication Use for Children in State Custody: A Best Principles Guideline as the basis to assess states psychotropic drug monitoring programs for children in foster care. As a result, many states are adopting AACAP guidelines as they develop oversight systems.

Juvenile Justice
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) is federal law that provides funds to states to comply with a set of core requirements designed to protect children in the juvenile justice system. These core requirements include keeping children out of adult jails and prisons, funding proven prevention programs that are designed to keep children from entering the juvenile or criminal justice systems, and programs to reduce the racial and ethnic disparities of youth in the criminal justice system. AACAP supports the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, most recently authorized in 2002.

Schools
The Mental Health in Schools Act (H.R. 628 and S.195) provides grants to local education authorities to bring community-based mental health resources into schools to provide comprehensive mental health services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for the community.

A 2009 General Accountability Office investigation found that restraints, seclusion and other aversive interventions are regularly used in an attempt to maintain control of students in schools. The Keeping All Students Safe Act (H.R. 1893) would address seclusion and restraint practices, establish minimum safety standards, and prevent future abuses in schools.

Substance Abuse
The Synthetics are Dangerous Act (H.R. 4205) would raise awareness by requiring the office of National Drug Control Policy to include public service announcements about the dangers of using synthetic drugs.