Kids Count report notes shortage in behavioral health services

Omaha, NE – A new report shows many Nebraska children don't have access to behavioral health services.

That's one finding in the 2009 Kids Count report, released this week by Voices for Children in Nebraska. The report examines childrens' health and well-being in areas of education, access to health care, and poverty.

Research Coordinator Melissa Breazile says between 45,000 and 90,000 Nebraska children have a behavioral health problem. But 57 percent live in an area where there's a shortage of behavioral health services, according to the report. Another one-third of children live in an area where there's a partial shortage of those services.

Voices for Children is concerned that services such as the Nebraska Family Help Line and the Family Navigator System could be cut to save money in the state budget. Nebraska faces a deficit of close to one billion dollars.

Breazile says Voices for Children wants those services protected so more children don't lose access to behavioral health care programs.