Health Reform and Immigrant Children, Youth, and Families: Opportunities and Challenges for Advancing Behavioral Health
Few situations pose a greater adjustment challenge than moving to a new country. Situations that motivate families to relocate to the United States, as well as circumstances surrounding their moves, sometimes can compound existing health conditions. Studies have shown that a child’s migration experience can have a significant impact on his or her mental health status, as numerous immigrant children and youth reach the United States emotionally distraught, wounded and needing mental health services. Unfortunately, many immigrant children and youth in the U.S. endure severe and pervasive disparities in health status and outcomes, facing barriers to quality health care, public health, and especially mental and behavioral health services.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) recognizes the impact of disparities in health status, health insurance coverage, treatment, and health services on vulnerable populations in the United States. This issue brief provides substantial insight into how the ACA addresses the unique health care challenges confronting children, youth, and families who have immigrated to the United States.