Nearly one in 10 children in the United States has a serious emotional disorder, and mental health conditions are the most costly conditions among children and youth. These children often need a variety of services and supports, which makes care coordination imperative.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states have the option to establish health homes for Medicaid beneficiaries with chronic conditions – including behavioral health conditions – in order to facilitate access to and coordination of care. Though the ACA legislation does not allow states to target a specific age group, states may want to consider the health home option as a way to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care provided to adults and children in Medicaid with behavioral health challenges.

This report, produced by Sheila Pires, managing partner of the Human Services Collaborative, serves as a tool to help states think through how to develop a health home approach that can meet the needs of children with serious emotional disturbance.