News Releases and Media Advisories

Kansas Selected to Participate in Children’s Behavioral Health State Policy Learning Lab in Maryland Next Month

For Immediate Release

January 16, 2024

Cara Sloan-Ramos

TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard announced today that Kansas is 1 of only 8 states selected to participate in the Health Management Associates (HMA) Children's Behavioral Health (CBH) State Policy Lab in Baltimore, Maryland next month to address long-standing challenges around collaboration across state child welfare, behavioral health, and Medicaid systems that lead to unsatisfactory outcomes for children who are most vulnerable in our communities.  

HMA, in partnership with national membership organizations the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), National Association of State Medicaid Directors (NASMD), and the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), has been exploring an opportunity for a shared state policy learning lab. With additional funding support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs, Centene Foundation, and others, HMA finalized plans for a lab and opened the application process for attendance to states.

“KDADS is excited to share some of our successes in developing cross-sector partnerships in our state to bridge some of the barriers that exist in achieving optimal outcomes for our younger population and their families,” KDADS Secretary Howard said. “We have made major investments on behavioral health services for youth and young adults, and we look forward to not only sharing our experiences and data to improve overall health outcomes but learning from and collaborating with other states and national organizations participating in this Learning Lab.”

The purpose of the policy lab is to convene state interagency teams – to include child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, Medicaid, and K-12 public education – “to collectively strategize, learn from innovators in the field, and promote cross-system alignment to drive outcomes for children, youth, and families, strategically layering on missing components.” KDADS partnered with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Department for Children and Families, Kansas State Department of Education, and Kansas Department of Corrections to submit an application to attend.

Policy Lab objectives are to support state teams to co-create an actionable road map related to:

  •  Cross sectoral governance around children's behavioral health
  •  Identifying multisectoral financing strategies
  • A plan to expand service array for children's behavioral health in their state in partnership with participating agencies

The CBH State Policy Lab Team, in its notification letter to KDADS, noted significant interest from states and that Kansas’s application “exemplified the goals and commitment of your respective State with a thorough analysis of gaps and opportunities, demonstration of collaborative state interagency partnerships, and engagement of youth and adults.”

Kansas may send up to six attendees to the CBH Policy Lab.

About HMA

Health Management Associates (HMA) is a leading independent national research and consulting firm in the healthcare industry founded in 1985 with more than 20 offices across the country, with local expertise and intel in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. HMA helps clients stay ahead of the curve in publicly funded healthcare by providing technical assistance, resources, decision support, and expertise from all sides of the publicly funded healthcare arena: state Medicaid and Medicare, mental health, budget officers, managed care, physicians and other clinicians, policy advisor, community-based organizations, and more.