NH Senate takes up children's behavioral health bill

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) New Hampshire would take a major step forward in helping children with mental health problems under a bill before a Senate committee.

Under legislation passed in 2016, the state has been moving toward creating a comprehensive system of care that emphasizes family-driven, community-based services coordinated across child protection, juvenile justice and other systems. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing Tuesday on a follow-up bill, the centerpiece of which is the creation of mobile crisis teams within an hour's reach statewide.

Democratic Sen. Dan Feltes, the bill's main sponsor, said too many children are being left behind as the state struggles with a child protection crisis, an opioid epidemic and an inadequate mental health system. He said the bill will ultimately save money by preventing more costly hospitalizations.

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