NASW partners with Child Mind Institute on national message

Jul 15, 2013

By Rena Malai, News staff

NASW co-sponsored a webinar in May for the Child Mind Institute’s “Speak up for Kids” campaign, which aims to protect and promote children’s mental health.

The institute created the campaign in 2010, giving partner organizations the opportunity to nationally promote children’s mental health and work toward eliminating barriers to care.

“NASW was pleased to partner, once more, with the Child Mind Institute on their 2013 Speak up for Kids campaign, which aimed to help educate parents and stakeholders on how to obtain quality mental health treatment for children in need,” said Elizabeth Hoffler, special assistant to NASW CEO Angelo McClain.

Social workers play a vital role in clinical services, as well as care navigation, resource referral, and overall case management for the most vulnerable children, she said.

NASW Senior Practice Associate Sharon Issurdatt said mental health issues affect millions of children, and knowing what to do and how to get help can make things easier for many families.

“The campaign draws national attention to barriers to care as well as empowers parents with the resources they need to help their children live better lives,” Issurdatt said.

Director of the Montgomery County (Md.) Department of Health and Human Services Uma Ahluwalia presented the webinar for the campaign. She spoke about the problems in the areas of child mental health treatment, including access to care and the challenges families face.

“We were proud that social worker Uma Ahluwalia could present on the systemic challenges facing families who struggle to find mental health treatment for their children,” Hoffler said.

Some highlights of the webinar include the current state of children’s mental health; gaps and opportunities; policy and practice in today’s world; the impact of the Affordable Care Act; and how to match needs with services. Ahluwalia also offered navigation advice, including how to access care, whether a family has private health insurance or insurance funded by welfare.

“Mental health and substance abuse problems occur commonly among today’s youth and begin at a young age,” Ahluwalia says in the webinar. “Some children and youth are at increased risk of mental health problems, including those in low income households; those who have touched the child welfare and juvenile justice systems; and those in military families.”

With treatment, children and youth with mental health problems do better at home, in schools and in the community, she said.

The webinar is available free online and is accessible to anyone who can provide an email address to gain access. To register, visit

The Speak Up For Kids Campaign is recognized every year during May in honor of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month.

For more information on the campaign and the Child Mind Institute, visit

From the July 2013 NASW News