Report: Baltimore Kids Barred From Accessing Mental Health Care Due To Language Barriers

Doctor holds a stethoscope. Photo by Alex Proimos via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Language barriers are preventing kids from immigrant families from accessing necessary mental health care, according to a report released Wednesday by two Baltimore-based social justice groups, Maya Lora reports for the Baltimore Sun.

What are the details of the report? 

Though the Affordable Care Act requires free access to translation and interpretation services for non-English-speaking patients, the report—written by Centro SOL and the Public Justice Center—found that many immigrant children and those with immigrant parents were often found ineligible for mental health care due to language barriers. Some English-speaking children were also denied care because their parents weren’t able to obtain translation services to schedule an appointment or facilitate other administrative tasks in order to access treatment. 

The report urges the Maryland Department of Health to create and distribute an interpretation and translation services guide to mental health providers serving immigrant families as well as provide funding for families who need to access those services and are not covered by Medicaid. 

Anything else I should know?

The Maryland Department of Health has a Limited English Proficiency Policy, which explains the state’s obligations to provide translation and interpretation services as well as the procedures to access them.

You can read more here.

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