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Federal Legislation Protecting Medicaid for Kids in Foster Care Introduced

Earlier this month, U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced is S. 2689, the Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act of 2021.

This bipartisan, federal legislation will protect Medicaid health coverage for children across the country, including thousands of Ohio foster children, who are placed in therapeutic mental health facilities. The legislation clarifies a conflict in law caused in 2018 by the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act.

This Act adds accountability and regulations for mental health facilities that serve foster children. Many advocates and states have expressed concern that as a result of these important regulations, facilities could be classified as Institutions for Mental Disease, which would prohibit Medicaid coverage for children placed in the facilities.

The Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act of 2021 would provide an exemption for foster children placed in mental health facilities, thereby ensuring that they do not lose Medicaid health care coverage. “Passage of this legislation protects foster children in Ohio and across the country.

It ensures mental health and child welfare agencies continue to access funding needed to support their care and treatment,” said Mark Mecum, CEO of the Ohio Children’s Alliance, a nonprofit agency that advocates for children and community agencies.

The Ohio Children’s Alliance joined over 500 organizations across the country in writing to Congressional leadership about this issue and has been leading an advocacy effort to make ensure health care coverage isn’t jeopardized for this population.


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