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Child Mental Health Treatment Act (CMHTA)

The Child Mental Health Treatment Act (CRS 27-67-101, et seq.) was enacted into Colorado law in 1999 through House Bill 99-1116. The Act allows families to access community, residential, and transitional treatment services for their child without requiring a dependency and neglect action, when there is no child abuse or neglect. To be eligible, a child must have a mental illness, be under the age of 18, and be at risk of out-of-home placement or at risk of further involvement with a county department of human/social services. The Act applies to both Medicaid eligible and non-Medicaid eligible children, although the application and payment processes differ. Local and State-level appeal processes are available if services are denied, and for local interagency disputes.

Non-Medicaid eligible children apply through the local Community Mental Health Center (CMHC). If the CMHC determines that residential treatment is needed, the family must apply for disability benefits through their local Social Security office. The residential treatment costs for non-Medicaid eligible children are covered through private insurance, if available; a parental fee based on the Colorado Child Support Guidelines; Supplemental Security Income (SSI ) benefits; Medicaid; and CMHTA funds when needed. If the CMHC determines that community based treatment is needed, costs are covered by the Act and a parental fee not to exceed 50% of the residential fee. Families of non-Medicaid eligible children should contact their local CMHC for more information or to apply for services under the Act. The links at the bottom and side of the page also contain information about this program.

Families of Medicaid eligible children apply for residential treatment through their Behavioral Health Organization (BHO). The BHO is responsible for residential treatment costs for Medicaid eligible children determined to require this level of care. Families of Medicaid eligible children should contact their local BHO for more information or to apply for this program. The BHO phone number is located on the back of the child’s Medicaid card.

Transition services provided to children served through the Act includes case management and post-discharge services provided by a CMHC to children admitted to a residential facility, in collaboration with families, community supports and agencies, and the residential facility. Community-Based services includes, but is not limited to, therapeutic foster care, intensive in-home treatment, intensive case management, and day treatment. Families interested in accessing these services should discuss this with the CMHTA liaison at their local CMHC.

For additional questions or assistance regarding the Child Mental Health Treatment Act, please contact the CMHTA Program Manager, Andrew Gabor at (303) 866-7422 or andrew.gabor@state.co.us.


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