Between 7 and 12 million American youth suffer from mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders at any given time. The AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) is the leading national professional medical association dedicated to treating and improving the quality of life for children, adolescents, and families affected by these disorders.
The AACAP, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was established in 1953. It is a membership based organization, composed of over 8,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists and other interested physicians. Its members actively research, evaluate, diagnose, and treat psychiatric disorders and pride themselves on giving direction to and responding quickly to new developments in addressing the health care needs of children and their families.
The AACAP widely distributes information here, and elsewhere, in an effort to promote an understanding of mental illnesses and remove the stigma associated with them; advance efforts in prevention of mental illnesses, and assure proper treatment and access to services for children and adolescents.
To support and advance child and adolescent psychiatry and those it serves, the Academy provides:
- National public information through distribution of Facts for Families and research findings; and providing recognized professionals as spokespersons.
- Government liaison and education to respond to national concerns over health care and social-economic issues affecting children both at the local and national level; and giving expert testimony on issues affecting children, in a effort to improve and expand psychiatric services to children.
- Continuing medical education through scientific meetings and institutes high in quality and content.
- Practice guidelines and systems of care documents to advance the quality of care.
- An interface with managed care organizations to establish appropriate coverage for children and adolescents.
- Collaboration with other medical associations through a seat in the American Medical Association House of Delegates and liaisons to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
- Cooperative support and representation to organizations, such as the National Mental Health Association, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health.
- Promotion and support for research and training opportunities.
- Continual review and development of training curricula for child and adolescent psychiatry training programs.
- Medical student fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry.
The AACAP is governed by an elected Council of 16 members, five of which form the Executive Committee: