Major Grant to Idaho Voices for Children Addresses Gap in Behavioral Healthcare Access 

The New Jersey-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced this morning that it was awarding a $275,000 grant to Idaho Voices for Children to help "transform Idaho's behavior health system through integrated care and increased access."

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Idaho Voices for Children, an advocacy group that fights for health, education, safety and family economic security, said Idaho invests less per capita in mental health services than most states, but the grant will help the organization advocate for "improved care and address disparities and inequities within Idaho's system."

"While our state has made some progress, our system is not meeting the needs of thousands of Idahoans who struggle with mental illness and substance use disorders," said Idaho Voices for Children director Lauren Necochea.

The grant will be used to support a two-year project which will bring together stakeholders and consumer voices to discuss policies promoting cost-effective behavioral health in Idaho's broader health delivery systems. Specific goals include increasing comprehensive health coverage to vulnerable populations, and expanding access to mental health and substance abuse treatment.

The first step in the project is reaching out to Idahoans who have personal experience with the behavioral health system in Idaho. Family members, healthcare workers, law enforcement and consumer advocates are encouraged to get involved. Interested parties may contact Ceci Thunes, health policy specialist with Idaho Voices for Children at

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